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David Perdue’s Political Priorities?

Of the four candidates vying for Georgia’s two Senate seats on January 5th, David Perdue (R) is the only one with substantial political experience, having held his seat since 2015, and the only one elected to the Senate. His fellow incumbent, Senator Kelly Loeffler (R), was appointed to her seat by GA Governor Brian Kemp (R) and has served less than a year.

With so much at stake, no surprise both Democrats and Republicans are deploying expansive ground games and hundreds of millions of dollars into the state. Political ads, filled with mudslinging and false accusations, abound.

Once again, voters are left scratching their heads, wondering what’s true. To assist campaign-weary Georgia voters and well-meaning volunteers, TMM is profiling each of the four candidates. We published our take on Loeffler and her Democratic challenger, Raphael Warnock, recently. We continue today with Perdue, to be followed by his opponent, Jon Ossoff (D).

Background

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering and Master’s in Operations Research from Georgia Tech (Wikipedia).
  • 12 years as management consultant; then Senior VP at Reebok. Left to run PillowTex, embattled NC textile company; then served as CEO of Dollar General (Wikipedia).
  • One of Senate’s wealthiest members; net worth of $15.9 million (Wikipedia).
  • Made 2,596 stock trades during his one Senate term; several trades involving companies under jurisdiction of committees Perdue serves on (Armed Services, Banking, Housing and Urban Development, Budget, Foreign Relations) (NY Times).
  • First cousin of Sonny Perdue (R), current U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former GA Governor (2003 – 2011).

Politics

  • Senior Georgia Senator since 2015.
  • Ideologically conservative; only three other Senators considered more right-leaning (govtrack).

Positions on Important Issues

  • Supported legislation limiting immigration; sought bans on same-sex marriage and abortion (Britannica).
  • Received 15% rating from American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), 7% from League of Conservation Voters (LCV), and 0% from Human Rights Campaign (govtrack).
  • Rated 86% by National Rifle Association (NRA) (votesmart.org).

  • Received 94% rating from Americans for Prosperity (conservative advocacy group funded by Koch brothers) (govtrack).
  • Supports protecting pre-existing conditions through his PROTECT Act (though widely criticized). Says “health insurance should always cover pre-existing conditions. For anyone. Period.” Politifact rates this claim FALSE.
  • Supports reducing prescription-drug prices; ending surprise medical billing; and repealing/replacing Affordable Care Act (WSB-TV, Atlanta).
  • Supported 2017 Trump tax cuts, claiming they would encourage economic growth, increasing tax revenues and paying for themselves (WSB-TV, Atlanta). Adjusted for inflation, total revenues fell from FY2017 to FY2018 (Brookings Institute).
  • Helped Trump roll back energy-industry regulations, believing they crippled community and regional banks (WSB-TV, Atlanta).
  • Voted for Families First Coronavirus Response Act and CARES Act (votesmart.org).
  • Co-sponsored “Securing the Border and Protecting Our Communities Act”, withholding federal transportation grant funds from cities refusing to cooperate with Justice Department on immigration enforcement and reallocating funds toward completion of border wall project authorized in Secure Fence Act of 2006 (votesmart.org).

Setting the Record Straight

Fact Checkers at Atlanta’s NBC affiliate, 11 Alive, have diligently tried to help viewers separate fact from fiction in attack ads. Their take on claims against Perdue:

  • Accusation: Sold stock after receiving private Senate briefing about Coronavirus.
  • Fact: 11 Alive states they can verify Perdue was cleared of insider trading by federal investigators. AJC reports these entities do not typically confirm or deny investigations unless there are findings to act upon, which can take months or years.
  • Accusation: Bought Navy contractor stock before assuming control of Senate Subcommittee on Seapower, then sold stocks for profit.
  • Fact: True.
  • Accusation: Voted to block pandemic relief for small businesses.
  • Fact: False (mostly). Voted for the Cares Act as well as GOP’s so-called “skinny bill” in September, a scaled-down version of House’s Heroes Act – which Perdue opposed.

Perdue and Ossoff clashed in their October 12 election debate. The pair’s second debate, on October 28th, was no less contentious. The two were scheduled to debate again – but Perdue cancelled to attend a Trump rally, allegedly. Ossoff supporters claimed Perdue was worried that Ossoff would again score points by criticizing Perdue’s record, as he did in previous debates.

In December, Perdue was again a no-show for a scheduled debate. Ossoff appeared alone on the debate stage. The Atlanta Journal Sentinel reported Perdue campaign manager Ben Fry said “he saw the runoff as an ‘extension’ of the general election phase, which already featured two debates, as he made clear, the Republican wouldn’t participate in any other showdowns.”

Does Perdue’s reluctance to debate indicate he has something to hide? You would think he’d be eager to tout all the positive things he claims he’s accomplished for everyday Georgians.

Georgia’s Early Voting began December 14 and continues through January 1. Registered voters can request mail-in ballots here, “by the end of the business day on the Friday (January 1) before Election Day (January 5)”.

Georgia voters, PLEASE make a voting plan and vote on (or before) January 5. Our country is depending on you.

 

Laurentine Nicoletto, TMM Staff

 

Images: Google Images

Perdue unmasked: Toni L. Sandys-Pool/Getty Images

Perdue/Ossoff: Gwinnettdailypost.com

Koch election spending: nbcnews.com

Perdue on phone: theintercept.com

Ossoff on debate stage: post-gazette.com

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