Race for Georgia government: Governor Kemp and David Perdue shout and throw ‘spaghetti’ in heated Republican debate


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Georgia gubernatorial candidate and former Senator David Perdue and incumbent Governor Brian Kemp pulled no punches as they tackled each other Thursday night during a debate for the Republican Party’s gubernatorial nomination .

In the second of three debates before early voting begins on May 2, the two Republican candidates sparred over familiar issues such as the handling of the 2020 election, the endorsement of former President Trump, crime in Georgia and who had the best plans to avoid the economic pain of record inflation.

Each candidate returned to familiar lines of attack related to the 2020 election, with Perdue accusing Kemp of splitting the Republican Party and losing voter confidence.

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“People have lost faith in you and faith in the electoral system. You won’t admit the fact that you did certify the election, Governor, without an investigation,” Perdue said.

“Lord of mercy, there’s a lot of spaghetti thrown on the wall,” Kemp replied, adding that the FBI, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations and his own office had been investigating.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp attends the celebration honoring the Georgia Bulldogs’ National Championship victory on January 15, 2022 in Athens, Georgia.
(Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Kemp vehemently defended his case and expressed exasperation with Perdue’s statements. “Senator Perdue is lying about my case because he doesn’t have one of his own,” Kemp said, a phrase he repeated repeatedly throughout the hour-long debate.

Perdue accused Kemp of violating his oath of office by suppressing voter fraud allegations after the 2020 election and blamed the governor for his own loss to Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff in the January 2021 special election.

Perdue insisted he had won the special election by 90,000 votes, to which Kemp replied, “If you beat Jon Ossoff, why aren’t you a US senator?”

“Because you let him steal the election, Governor,” Perdue said.

At another point, Perdue accused Kemp of refusing to set election laws after the November 2020 election regarding signature checking, ballot harvesting and unsecured drop boxes – which he says contributed to his loss to Ossoff.

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“Lord of mercy, he’s still lying people. It’s really sad,” Kemp said. “You can’t go and change the laws in the middle of an election that’s going on, which includes your runoff,” he continued.

Perdue defended his proposal to end state income tax and called for the creation of “an election law enforcement agency that does nothing but enforce election laws. “.

FILE - Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., speaks during a "save the majority" rally in Augusta, Georgia on December 10, 2020.

FILE – Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., speaks at a “Save the Majority” rally in Augusta, Ga. on Dec. 10, 2020.
(AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Kemp called Perdue’s plan to end state income tax “fuzzy math in Washington DC” because it would require raising other taxes to offset $14 billion in revenue, or about half of the state budget. Perdue replied that Kemp took “several hundred million dollars” to invest in a development with Rivian Automotive, an electric truck startup, in which George Soros invested earlier this year.

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Perdue also said Georgia would attract more business if crime rates had been lower under Kemp’s watch and if the state had no income tax.

Perdue’s position was that even if Kemp won the primary nomination, he would never win Trump’s endorsement – and that would likely mean he would lose to Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams in November.

“I believe with [Trump’s endorsement]and with everyone’s help and vote, we will stop this madness and defeat Stacey Abrams, even though our governor has split the party,” Perdue said.

“I’m here to protect my state, this man has sold us out to the radical left,” Perdue said.

Kemp insisted he had the record to beat Abrams a second time. “We need to have someone who will focus on today and focus on how we win in November – not try to look back like David Perdue and Stacey Abrams have been, and not admit that they lost an election because they didn’t have a record to win,” Kemp said.

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