It was last December when former Sen. David Perdue (R-Georgia) hinted that he would enter the race to primary incumbent Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. And as my colleague, Bonchie said clearly a few months later, right in his headline: “David Perdue Files to Run in Georgia Again Because Republicans Never Learn.”
He wasn’t kidding. Kemp and Perdue faced off in the first of three GOP primary debates on Sunday night. Perdue’s performance against Kemp will leave no one wondering why he skipped out of a debate against Jon Ossoff when running in 2021 to hold on to his Senate seat in the run-off election. Let’s just say, it wasn’t because he was overconfident about prevailing on May 24.
But all you really need to see are two clips from the 90-minute bout to know that. The first one begins with a question to Perdue, the moderator asking him to present “factual evidence that there was voter fraud.” Perdue spends over a minute outlining alleged fraudulent activity in both the 2020 and 2021 elections — in each situation, lambasting the Governor and his office for not acting.
Then Perdue closes with:
“He’s not only tried to suppress [evidence], he’s tried to cover it up and fault the individuals trying to bring this to light, and get the truth.
He said it was a clean election. He denies anything happened.”
Kemp responds: “I have never said that, ever.” Perdue cuts him off, asking him if he denies saying that, then implies that Kemp “thinks Jon Ossoff and Joe Biden won fair and square.”
Kemp’s reply is strong, and begins at the two-minute mark in the video below. He not only chides his opponent for mischaracterizing his words, but checked off his actions — both as a former Georgia Secretary of State and as Governor — to curb the very real voter fraud that goes on. He specifically points to one of the left’s major coups during the pandemic, the ballot drop boxes, which he noted were “approved by the State Board of Elections.”
Kemp then points at Perdue’s failure to sign on to a lawsuit to contest the special election, immediately after his Senate loss. He just completely turns the weak attack around on Perdue.
If Perdue’s flailing weren’t obvious enough in that clip, the closing statements nail things shut.
There’s one sure thing every consultant tells a candidate to do in a closing — whatever else you include, make your case to the voter. That is, why should the voter choose you, not the other guy. In Perdue’s remarks, he doesn’t do that at any point. The entire thing is a rant against Kemp’s alleged malfeasance during the 2020 election. Seriously? I’m sure the voters heard enough of that on the campaign trail and throughout the rest of the debate. This was a total collapse by Perdue, and his camp must know that.
If you can’t tell people the positive reasons you should be elected, you should never throw your hat in the ring in the first place.
In strong contrast, that’s what Kemp does (starting at 1:06, below). And make sure to hear the very end, because of three words he says about Democrat Stacey Abrams. It’s a killer line.
Take a listen:
The GOP primary may be a month away on May 24th. But you can stick a fork in Perdue right now — he’s done.