Donald Trump is the gift that keeps on giving to Georgia Democrats. Trump’s incessant whining about nonexistent 2020 election fraud helped depress GOP turnout in the January Senate runoffs and create an opening for two Democrats to claim the seats.
But dooming former GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue wasn’t enough for Trump. His real goal is to make Republican Gov. Brian Kemp pay the price of defeat for failing to overturn the state’s thrice-recounted results.
Now, one of the GOP senators who lost his reelection bid earlier this year due to Trump’s petty grousing has taken up the mantle of Trump’s crusade against Kemp.
Although Perdue said in his video announcement on Monday that nothing about his challenge to Kemp was “personal,” his entire pitch was punctuated with swipes at Kemp, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“He has failed all of us and cannot win in November,” Perdue said, claiming he was the only candidate suited to defeat Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who announced her candidacy last week.
Perdue directly blamed Kemp and GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for dividing Georgia Republicans and accused Kemp of costing the GOP two Senate seats—one of which was the seat that Perdue himself lost after skipping multiple debates against his Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff.
“Instead of protecting our elections, he caved to Abrams and cost us two Senate seats,” Perdue charged. “Think about how different it would be today if Kemp had fought Abrams first instead of fighting Trump. Kemp caved before the election, and the country is paying the price today.”
Perdue added, “If our governor was ever going to fight for us, wouldn’t he have done it already?”
Perdue also repeatedly mentioned the “woke Left,” vowing to refuse to keep “caving” to “liberals in the city.”
“Over my dead body will we ever give Stacey Abrams control of our elections again,” Perdue pledged.
But long before Perdue can get to fighting Abrams, he will have first to defeat Kemp, an embattled but sitting GOP governor, setting up a heated primary battle that promises to divide Republicans across the state.
A Kemp spokesperson said Perdue’s bid was an effort to “soothe his own bruised ego,” according to the Washington Post.
“It may be difficult for David Perdue to see this over the gates of his coastal estate, but Joe Biden’s dangerous agenda is hitting hardworking Georgians in the wallet and endangering their livelihoods,” Kemp spokesman Cody Hall said in a statement. “And we all have David Perdue to thank for it.”
Constant revelations of corruption and self-dealing stock schemes also became a central feature of Perdue’s failed reelection campaign. Kemp appears poised to point out that Perdue isn’t exactly a man of the people.
After Abrams announced her gubernatorial bid last week, Trump was quick to issue a statement taking credit for Kemp’s win against her in 2018 while also saying he wasn’t up to the task next year.
“I’ll beat her again,” Trump said in a statement, “but it will be hard to do with Brian Kemp, because the MAGA base will just not vote for him after what he did with respect to Election Integrity and two horribly run elections.” In 2018, Trump had endorsed Kemp over another Republican candidate at the urging of both David and his cousin Sonny Perdue. My, how times change.
The messy GOP primary that will surely be a race to the bottom courtesy of Trump is an absolute gift to Georgia Democrats. Not only will Kemp and Perdue pit Republicans across the state against each other, their infighting will also provide the ideal backdrop for a unified campaign effort by Abrams and Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia, who is running for reelection next year.