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ATLANTE – Former Sen. David Perdue said he “absolutely” had a political shock when he appeared with former President Trump at a rally in Georgia a week and a half ago.
Lost, with Trump’s backing, is Gov. Brian Kemp’s top challenge, but trails the incumbent GOP governor in two key campaign metrics — public opinion polls and fundraising — with just seven weeks to go. May 24 primary in Georgia.
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Perdue said in a Fox News interview on Tuesday that before the former president’s March 26 rally in Commerce, Georgia, “only about half of the Republicans in the state understood that I had the endorsement of Trump. He wanted to make sure that he had posed this without any misunderstanding. So it was a huge thing.
Kemp, a former ally, drew Trump’s ire from late 2020, after Kemp certified President Biden’s narrow victory in Georgia in the presidential election after several vote recounts. Trump, who had unsuccessfully urged the governor and other top Republican state officials to overturn the results, has now returned to Georgia twice to campaign against Kemp.
For months, Trump has urged Perdue to challenge the governor, and late last year he endorsed Perdue a day after the former senator launched his candidacy. Perdue declared her candidacy days after Stacey Abrams, a suffrage champion and rising Democratic Party star, launched her second straight gubernatorial bid.
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Trump praised Perdue at the recent rally, saying he would “save Georgia.” And the former president lambasted the governor, arguing that “Trump voters aren’t going to vote for Brian Kemp.”
Perdue said Trump is “educating people about endorsement and then telling them what’s at stake here in this primary. He’s trying to get everybody out and voting because a lot of people will be waiting and voting in the general election, and they’re going to default on the candidate who will represent the Republican side against Stacey Abrams.” And he was reminding people that that was a huge mistake.
But on Jean FredericOn Tuesday, on Trump’s conservative radio show, Trump acknowledged that “it’s always hard to beat a sitting governor. It’s hard. It’s very hard to beat, because they have a lot of money behind them. them. You know, everybody gives them money. But we’ll see what happens.”
Trump also appeared to lower expectations, adding, “It’s too bad. It’s too bad. Not easy to beat a sitting governor. Just remember that.”
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Perdue told Fox News that Trump “is going to do whatever it takes to win this thing.”
When asked if the former president would return to Georgia before the primary, Perdue said he and Trump “are going to do tele-rallies. He could very well come back. … If he needs to , he will be here .”
Trump might be needed.
Perdue trails Kemp in the most recent opinion polls, including a Fox News poll from March 2-6 that showed Kemp leading Perdue by 11 points among Republicans likely to vote in the primary. But all of the investigations were conducted before Trump’s rally in Georgia.
Trump stars in the Perdue TV commercials, which the former senator says will continue through the primary.
And Perdue pointed out that “I’m on the road every day…we’re scrambling around the state to make sure people hear the message.”
Perdue spoke with Fox News the day after the state’s legislative session concluded.
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Georgia’s political veterans point to a smooth and successful legislative session for the governor, which saw many of the bills on his wish list passed by state lawmakers.
“Receiving a primary challenge before a legislative session really allowed Governor Kemp to maximize his home-court advantage in what was arguably the most successful session of his first term,” said veteran Republican consultant Chip Lake based in Georgia, at Fox News.
“Governor Kemp will spend the next several weeks reviewing the bills and then strategically planning for statewide bill signings to highlight all of the conservative political accomplishments made over the past three months,” he said. said Lake. “It’s a gold mine ahead of a primary election at the end of May.”
But Perdue doesn’t see it that way.
“But I see this session as a small ball, frankly. I mean he [Kemp] didn’t do anything major there,” he explained. “And what I’m looking at is a lot of the things that they accomplished in that session happened after I was entered the race. The constitutional postponement was going nowhere. I walked in and said we should have a constitutional postponement. Next thing I know, they are working on a bill to achieve this. We wanted a parent’s bill of rights. I announced it in December. He now has a watered down version of that playing here.”
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Perdue noted that the Georgia gas tax exemption that Kemp claimed “expires days after the primary election. You don’t have to be a political pundit to see the obvious reality of the reason for which this is done”.
And he claimed: “I think he spent a lot of energy in that session to make sure he got re-elected.”