A multibillion-dollar electric vehicle factory coming to a rural site outside Atlanta has become a source of contention in Georgia’s Republican gubernatorial primary race.
Electric vehicle maker Rivian finalized the $5 billion deal for the plant with Gov. Brian Kemp (R) in December, and Kemp’s former challenger, former Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) , clung to the deal, which he describes as “twisted,” as a way to continually criticize Kemp as Perdue campaigns to overthrow him.
“A scheme to give hundreds of millions of tax dollars to a company owned by Soros. It’s not Stacey Abrams. It’s RINO Brian Kemp,” reads a recent Perdue ad. “Kemp’s twisted deal cost the Georgians but made Soros even richer.”
Kemp is donating hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to a George Soros company that makes electric cars. Kemp declined to divulge any details of that behind-the-scenes deal. This is undoubtedly good for Soros. The question is: why is the Governor hiding it from the Georgians? pic.twitter.com/fuEBSqkxfF
– Team Lost (@TeamPerdue) March 29, 2022
Perdue began stepping up Rivian-related campaign attacks on March 1, when he held a news conference in Rutledge at the site of the proposed plant to protest its construction.
Perdue, a wealthy businessman who was previously CEO of Reebok and Dollar General, accused at the event of creating “thousands of valuable American jobs” through his past work while Kemp gave “l ‘taxpayer money to George Soros’.
“I’m just a businessman, not a career politician. I have spent my life creating thousands of valuable American jobs. That’s not the way you do it,” Perdue said. “We can grow the economy without selling and giving our taxes to George Soros. We can create jobs without buying them. We can invest in rural Georgia without kicking out our communities. »
Democratic megadonor George Soros bought nearly 20 million shares of Rivian, worth about $2 billion, in the last quarter of 2021, according to a Reuters report.
While Soros shares equated to a roughly 2% stake in Rivian, Bloomberg notes that other giant investors have “significantly” higher stakes in the publicly traded company, including Amazon, T. Rowe Price, BlackRock and Ford.
One of Rivian’s main competitors is Tesla, an electric car giant that aims to expand its business in China. Tesla’s largest shareholder is Chief Executive Elon Musk, who owns around 17% of the company’s equity. And while Rivian is focused on growing its business in Georgia, Tesla plans to build a busy factory in Shanghai, China, which is expected to more than double Tesla’s production in the communist-ruled country.
Georgia had been competing for months with other US states, including North Carolina and Texas, to secure the deal with Rivian, but according to a report this month by local outlet 11Alive, the Inducements the Kemp administration offered Rivian to lure him to Georgia have yet to be fully disclosed.
In addition to Perdue’s criticism of Soros being a Rivian shareholder, Perdue also pointed to the still partially undisclosed inducements as an indication that a “secret behind-the-scenes deal” has taken place.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) filed similar complaints with Amazon about inducements before Amazon canceled plans to build its coveted second headquarters in Queens, New York. The move deprived the state of what Insider says would have been about 25,000 new full-time jobs, a $2.5 billion investment in Queens’ Long Island City neighborhood and millions in tax revenue. planned for the city and the state. Amazon announced its decision to pull out of the deal with Queens in February 2019, saying, “A number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence.”
Some opposition was also expressed regarding the inevitable local impact of the Rivian plant. Georgia’s tenth congressional district candidate Mike Collins voiced his disapproval on the campaign trail over how the facility, which will span some 2,000 acres, will disrupt life in the area.
I stand with the constituents of Morgan & Walton County in OPPOSING the disastrous Rivian plant being planned.
There’s a movement underway to take back our country – and it’s starting in communities like this. pic.twitter.com/BJwGo1AZhG
— Michael Collins (@MikeCollinsGA) February 13, 2022
While Collins indicated in a social media post in February that voters in the affected counties of Morgan and Walton oppose Rivian’s arrival in Georgia, a Georgia Chamber of Commerce investigation of four counties in the region, Morgan, Walton, Newton and Jasper, found that, by contrast, respondents who were aware of the factory proposal supported it two to one (49% supporting and 24% opposing ).
Kemp, for his part, celebrated the project as the “largest economic development project in Georgia’s history” when he announced it in December. He noted that the plant, which would be located on the “East Atlanta Megasite” — a site that was ripe for new development and featured for other businesses in the past — would bring 7,500 jobs to Georgia.
The investment, Kemp said, “represents the future of automotive manufacturing and establishes the leading role that Peach State will play in this burgeoning industry for generations to come.”
Kemp’s campaign spokesman Cody Hall said in a statement provided to Breitbart News that Perdue’s attacks on Kemp regarding Rivian were “outright lies.”
“David Perdue’s clown car campaign has resorted to outright lies as they attack 7,500 high-paying American manufacturing jobs coming to the Peach State,” Hall said. “That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as they’re down in the polls, can’t raise funds, and are desperate to avoid addressing Perdue’s long career outsourcing American jobs to China.”
Perdue has the backing of former President Donald Trump as he aims to defeat Kemp, but has so far trailed Kemp around ten points in the polls. While Perdue initially made electoral integrity – Trump’s top issue – the centerpiece of his campaign, Perdue’s lagging poll numbers seemed to prompt the former senator to broaden his message to include economic issues. like the Rivian deal, as well as crime issues like the proposal to allow the wealthy suburb of Buckhead to divest from Atlanta so they can create their own police force.
The gubernatorial primary is on May 24, and early voting will begin in just over a month.
Write to Ashley Oliver at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.