It remains amazing to me that this primary is about literally nothing except Kemp’s unwillingness to overturn an election that Trump lost, which Kemp didn’t have the power to do even if he wanted to.
And even more amazing, Perdue isn’t pretending otherwise. There’s not even a gesture in the ad below towards the idea that there’s a meaningful policy dispute between him and Kemp, that Kemp isn’t conservative enough about his COVID policies or his spending priorities or whatever.
The entire “strategy,” such as it is, is “Trump hates Kemp for not helping out with his coup attempt and you should too.” Watch this and tell me if you’d have the faintest idea of what Trump’s and Perdue’s grievances with Kemp are if you didn’t already know about the 2020 resentments that drove Trump’s endorsement.
I’m proud to have President Trump’s Complete & Total Endorsement. Georgians are tired of do-nothing, weak-kneed politicians. As Governor, I’ll be a fighter, who never caves to the woke left.
Conservatives know they can count on me to secure our elections, stop Stacey & save GA! pic.twitter.com/bqN6KrocC8
— David Perdue (@DavidPerdueGA) February 1, 2022
David Perdue is an “America First conservative outsider”? He spent six years in Washington as a senator before losing to Jon Ossoff, with an assist from Trump’s vote-discouraging “stop the steal” pitch. He’s filthy rich and Kemp has already taken to attacking him for outsourcing jobs to China. “America First conservative outsider” doesn’t mean anything substantive here. It’s an appropriation of Trump’s own political brand by a man to whom it patently doesn’t apply.
Which means this truly is a primary about nothing. Perdue is a human cipher, almost a completely random person recruited by Trump as an outlet for his vendetta against Kemp. Perdue’s a Georgia resident, he has a meaningful amount of name recognition in the state, and he’ll do whatever Trump tells him. Those are his only “qualifications” for this campaign.
Also, how is Kemp “afraid” of Stacey Abrams? He ran against her once before and beat her and is likely to do so again if he wins this primary. Whether Perdue is similarly positioned is another matter: “The allegiance to Trump could come back to haunt Perdue in the general election if he wins the nomination. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released last week showed half of Georgia voters would be less likely to support a candidate backed by Trump in November.” Kemp led Abrams 48/41 in the AJC poll. Perdue led 47/43.
But Trump would prefer an Abrams victory over Perdue to a Kemp victory over Abrams, I’m sure. He’s all but admitted it at his rallies.
His new ad for Perdue is noteworthy because it might represent the unofficial launch of his 2022 midterm revenge tour. There are numerous Republican officials whom he’s bent on ousting either because they declined to abet his “stop the steal” operation (Kemp and Doug Ducey if he were to run for Senate) or because they insisted on punishing him for it by supporting his impeachment. He’d better start getting more proactive, though, because right now his enemies are outraising his allies:
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) brought in nearly $1.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2021. Her Trump-backed challenger, Kelly Tshibaka, raised just over $600,000.
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) raised about $726,000, more than five times than the $135,000 taken in by primary rival Steve Carra.
Rep. Jamie Herrera Buetler (R-Wash.) raised $525,000 to challenger Joe Kent’s $306,000.
John Gibbs, who’s challenging Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), only entered the race in early November, yet the $51,000 he raised during the last two months of the year was well below the pace of Meijer’s Q4 total of $530,000.
Among the contributors to Murkowski’s campaign: George W. Bush, who maxed out his donation. It was the first time he’s ever donated to Murkowski, a sign of how the Alaska race will become a proxy fight between the pro-Trump and Trump-skeptical factions within the GOP.
Bush also maxed out to Liz Cheney, who raised about four times as much in the last quarter as her own Trump-backed primary opponent. But Cheney won’t be saved by money; she’s a singular figure in the party now, the de facto leader of the tiny anti-Trump niche, and as such is public enemy number one to Trump and MAGA. As evidence, consider that Trump crony David Bossie just submitted a resolution to the RNC calling on the group to endorse the ouster of her and Adam Kinzinger, the two Republicans on the January 6 committee, from the House GOP caucus. In that case, as in the Kemp/Perdue race, there’s no substantive objection whatsoever to Trump’s enemies. Cheney’s and Kinzinger’s sin is simply making life harder for Trump by working to expose how far he went to try to cling to power.
I’ll give her the last word: “The leaders of the Republican Party have made themselves willing hostages to a man who admits he tried to ‘overturn’ a presidential election and suggests he would pardon Jan. 6 defendants, some of whom have been charged with seditious conspiracy. I’m a constitutional conservative and I do not recognize those in my party who have abandoned the Constitution to embrace Donald Trump. History will be their judge. I will never stop fighting for our constitutional republic. No matter what.”