• 30°

David Perdue rallies supporters at Kimble’s

Sen. David Perdue stopped in LaGrange Tuesday to rally supporters at Kimble’s Food by Design ahead of the Jan. 5 runoff election that will determine control of the U.S. Senate.

Perdue, a businessman first elected in 2014, received 49.7 percent of the in the November election. Because he did not clear the 50 percent threshold to avoid a runoff, he faces Democrat Jon Ossoff, an investigative filmmaker, who finished second, with 47.9 percent.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler is also on the ballot, challenged by Democrat Raphael Warnock. Democrats would need to win both races to have 50 seats in the Senate, enabling Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to cast tie-breaking votes to advance Joe Biden’s legislative agenda. 

The eyes of the nation are on Georgia then, along with the heaps of cash that come with it. More than $400 million has already been spent on advertising in the two races, according to Ad Age.

President Trump has campaigned in Georgia for the two Republicans. Joe Biden campaigned for the Democrats in Atlanta on Tuesday, and Ossoff will be stopping in LaGrange Wednesday at Lafayette Square.

Perdue also held a rally in October on Lafayette Square. On Tuesday, he was once again welcomed by local officials, including Troup County Board of Commissioners Chairman Patrick Crews, State Sen. Randy Robertson, State Rep. Randy Nix and Congressman Drew Ferguson. 

Ferguson introduced Perdue as someone “standing between you and socialism.”

Perdue arrived in a bus reading “Win Georgia. Save America.” In his stump speech, he echoed his rhetoric from October, saying a Democratic Senate would move to fundamentally reform American institutions.

“Chuck Schumer said it best, he’s going to add two states — D.C. and Puerto Rico,” Perdue said. 

“It’ll add four Democratic seats to the Senate. They want to stack the court, and they want to do away with the Electoral College. Guys, I’m just telling you, that’s a one-party system, they want total control and that will allow them to execute their agenda.”

Perdue claimed Democrats, with Ossoff’s help, would pass a Green New Deal, defund the police, lock down the country, do away with private insurance and give “amnesty for all illegal immigrants.” 

Ossoff has said he does not support the Green New Deal, Medicare for All or defunding the police. 

His website says he supports a path to legal status for immigrants in the United States illegally. 

Alec Poitevint, chairman of the Perdue campaign, told supporters to vote early in case they have an emergency or inclement weather on election day. He also encouraged them to reach out to Biden voters.

In winning Georgia, Biden outperformed Ossoff. Poitevint thinks there’s an opportunity to reach voters who split their ticket — people who mostly vote Republican but wanted Trump out of office.

“Not everybody we know that voted for Biden is for this extreme, dangerous, left-wing agenda of our opponent and Kelly’s opponent in this race,” he said. “And so, we all know some of those people, and you all have enough guts to ask them [to vote].”

Poitevint also asked supporters to reach out to people who were not old enough to vote in November but have now turned 18, saying there were about 20,000 of those people in Georgia.

If Perdue has his way, however, those people will be casting provisional ballots. 

“We want all the ballots that are coming in from these people who registered after Nov. 3, and moved into the state, we want those separated and treated as provisional ballots,” Perdue said in an interview. “We want to look at those and make sure those people are real residents of Georgia.”

People who cast provisional ballots must prove to their county election officials that they are legally registered to vote within three days after election day.

The Electoral College officially confirmed Biden’s victory on Monday. On Tuesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged Joe Biden as the president-elect for the first time. Perdue declined to join McConnell.

“I’m working alongside him [Trump] right now to get an answer to this thing that happened in Georgia,” Perdue said. “He’s got every right to ask the questions. And he’s still got some recourse. So, I’m standing with the president to do that. And I’m sure we’ll get to a peaceful solution to that very quickly.”

Some have voiced concern that Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud will dampen Republican enthusiasm in the Georgia runoffs. Responding to another question, Perdue said Republicans upset about November should “get revenge and vote.”

Asked about ongoing negotiations in Washington to pass another round of COVID-19 relief, Perdue said he wanted to extend the paycheck protection program loans to businesses and predicted that a compromise would be reached by Christmas.  

One point of contention between Democrats and Republicans is a liability shield for businesses, according to news reports. Republicans would like to include a provision that would protect businesses from lawsuits related to COVID-19. Perdue said he supports the shield.

He also echoed other Republicans by warning against financial relief for local and state governments, though he did acknowledge that small towns need more help. 

“I don’t think the taxpayers of Georgia should have to bail out the California states like that, who have been irresponsible in their budget and in their retirement funding … I don’t believe in a big bailout for Illinois and California and New York.”