Tuesday, December 07, 2021


Yesterday, David Perdue announced a primary challenge to Georgia governor Brian Kemp. Perdue is already making the race about "election integrity." From his campaign announcement:
“Look, I like Brian. This isn’t personal; it’s simple. He’s failed all of us and cannot win in November,” Perdue said. “Instead of protecting our elections, he caved to [Stacey] Abrams and cost us two Senate seats, the Senate majority, and gave Joe Biden free reign. Think about how different it would be today if Kemp had fought Abrams first instead of Trump. Kemp caved before the election, and the country is paying the price today.”
But so far, it doesn't appear as if Kemp is running as a defender of democracy. Instead, he's trying to change the subject:
[The Kemp campaign's] view of Perdue as a weak challenger with a record ripe for exploiting was revealed in the lengthy statement issued Sunday by Kemp campaign spokesman Cody Hall....

“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 — and we all have David Perdue to thank for it,” Hall said. “Perdue’s only reason for running is to soothe his own bruised ego, because his campaign for U.S Senate failed to inspire voters at the ballot box — twice,” he added. “Gov. Kemp has a proven track record of fighting the radical left to put hardworking Georgians first, while Perdue is best known for ducking debates, padding his stock portfolio during a pandemic, and losing winnable races.”
Kemp and his allies are trying to portray Perdue as a rich self-dealer -- as if that's going to impress voters in a Republican primary:
... Georgians First Inc., a pro-Kemp political action committee, released an ad reminding voters of Mr. Perdue’s stock trades of companies whose business fell under the purview of his Senate committees.

The ad directs voters to FormerSenatorDavidPerdue.com, which has more of the same:

It looks as if this race is going to be all about how Democrats cheat in every election on Perdue's side, and about anything else on Kemp's side, because even though he defended democracy after the 2020 presidential election, he doesn't want to talk about that.

It's widely believed that this will be a brutal, vicious primary with the potential to drag Republicans down ahead of the general election. The lede in The New York Times is:
Former Senator David Perdue’s leap Monday into a primary challenge against Gov. Brian Kemp, his fellow Republican, ensured that Georgia will be at the hot molten core of the political universe next year, with costly and competitive races that will test the grip of Trumpism over the G.O.P. ...
But I think Perdue will coast to victory in the primary. A Republican poll reported by the Washington Examiner last month suggests that Perdue will start with a solid lead:
The survey, conducted for Republican operatives interested in figuring out the lay of the land in Georgia, showed Kemp leading Perdue 38% to 32%, with Democrat-turned-Republican Vernon Jones picking up 16%. When the pollster presented Perdue as endorsed by former President Donald Trump, he jumped ahead of Kemp and led the incumbent governor 41% to 34%, with Jones garnering 11%. In a head-to-head with Kemp with Trump’s backing, Perdue led 50% to 41%.
Trump endorsed Perdue yesterday, so that's settled. Assume Perdue already has a 7-to-9-point lead, and the Trump rallies haven't started yet.

The Times wants us to believe that Trump's endorsement might not decide the race:
For Republicans, Georgia has now become perhaps the most consequential proving ground in the party’s Trump wars. Should Mr. Perdue and other Trump-backed candidates lose their primaries, it will raise grave questions about the former president’s clout in the party as well as his own capacity to compete in a must-win state in 2024.
As if. From that GOP poll reported by the Examiner:
Trump’s favorable/unfavorable image is 84%/10%....

Seventy-eight percent of Republican voters in Georgia believe “significant fraud occurred in the 2020 election,” and just 31% “believe Kemp did enough to prevent voter fraud in the election.”
And as for "other Trump-backed candidates" ...
In the Republican Senate primary in Georgia, former professional football player Herschel Walker, who has been endorsed by Trump, led state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black by a whopping 72% to 5%.
I can't predict the outcome of general election contests against Abrams, the likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee, and the sitting senator, Raphael Warnock, but this paragraph from the Times says less about Georgia than about elite-media groupthink:
If Mr. Perdue and Mr. Walker lead the Republican ticket next fall, Georgia voters will be forced to choose between revulsion for Mr. Trump and his incendiary politics, on the one hand, and, on the other, dissatisfaction with Mr. Biden and unease with the liberal politics that Ms. Abrams and Mr. Warnock embody.
This is said not about Georgia swing voters, but about Georgia voters overall. It seems not to occur to the authors of this story, Richard Fausset and Jonathan Martin, that millions of Georgians don't feel "revulsion for Mr. Trump and his incendiary politics" -- in fact, "Mr. Trump and his incendiary politics" are among the great pleasures of their lives. It also never occurs to them that many other Georgia voters strongly support Abrams, Warnock, and (yes, still) Biden. The paragraph does, however, sum up the political leanings of nearly every elite-media reporter covering national politics: Trump is horrible, but ick -- liberals!

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