Former Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) has remained unrelenting over his concerns about voter integrity and, in the first formal gubernatorial debate against incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp (R-Ga.), he wasted no time in asserting his views that the 2020 election “was rigged and stolen” and that Kemp is partially responsible.
In the first of three scheduled debates leading up to the May 24 primary, the challenger, endorsed by former President Donald Trump, had been granted the opportunity to lead off the introductions Sunday. Perdue capitalized on his chance to set the stage and made his belief clear that Kemp is as much to blame for the woes Georgia voters are feeling from the failed leadership of President Joe Biden.
“First off, folks, let me be very clear tonight. The election in 2020 was rigged and stolen,” Perdue declared in his opening. “All the madness we see from the Biden administration: two million illegals, rising gas prices, unbelievable inflation, the brink of war; all that started right here in Georgia when our governor caved and allowed radical Democrats to steal our election. And because of that, he has divided our party and cannot win.”
The former senator was referring to previous assertions that Kemp was complicit when Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams had entered into an agreement with state Republican officials that weakened the state’s election laws and allowed Biden to win the electoral votes.
“What you’re going to see tonight,” Perdue continued, “unfortunately, is an embattled governor. A career politician, 20-year career politician, who’s gonna parrot his political handlers to distract you away from the fact that he sold us out and cost us the majority in the United States Senate. I’m proud to have President Trump’s endorsement. With your help, we will get this done. We will win.”
Citing his pride in being from Georgia and his 40-year business career that created thousands of jobs, Perdue stated, “What I wanna tell you tonight is, the only reason that I’m running is to try to save our state. What I’m worried about is that the woke left has entrenched themselves here. What we have to do right now is to make sure we get criminals off our streets, the woke mob off, out of our schools, eliminate the state income tax and prosecute voter fraud.
In his own introduction, Kemp chose to issue a basic statement about the promises he has made on the campaign trail and in office and how he intends to keep them. It wasn’t until later in the evening that he remarked on Perdue’s allegations about the 2020 election.
“I was secretary of state for eight years and I don’t need to be lectured by someone that lost their last election about what our voting laws are and who has responsibilities for those in our state,” the governor said about the reported settlement agreement over absentee ballot signature verification.
Kemp pivoted his dismissal of any wrongdoing in the 2020 election to his own disappointment in the outcome.
“Look, I was as frustrated as anybody else. That’s why we passed the strongest election integrity act in the country because a lot of things were done by other people,” he said.
According to the last RealClear Politics polling average updated through April 14, Kemp is leading Perdue by more than 11 percent at around 47 to 35 percent respectively. However, that includes a compilation of polls with questionable sample sizes including one University of Georgia poll that had less than 400 respondents.
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