U.S. Sen. David Perdue has taken to calling whoever Gov. Brian Kemp appoints to succeed Republican Johnny Isakson as his 2020 “running mate.” And he has some advice for the governor as he sorts through the hundreds who applied for the job.
The first-term Republican told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he trusts Kemp “implicitly” and is confident in whoever he might pick. He added, though, that the two have discussed three criteria he hopes the governor considers.
The first, he said, is that the appointee must “be on our side” and support President Donald Trump’s agenda, including his stances on immigration, trade and healthcare.
“The second thing is they have to help communicate the message because Republicans don't have a great history of communicating a message,” he said.
“And the third thing is: Georgia is a growing state and the Republican Party needs to broaden with it. And that's been my mantra since the very beginning.”
This is no esoteric matter for either of the men. Kemp’s pick will share the 2020 ballot with Perdue, a close ally of Trump seeking a second and final term in the Senate. And, if that candidate wins, he or she would also be on the same ticket as Kemp in 2022.
About 500 candidates have applied online to succeed Isakson, who is stepping down at the end of the year because of health concerns.
The majority won’t be seriously considered, but those who will include U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, former Health Secretary Tom Price and House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, the No. 2 Republican in the state House.
Kemp could consider two broad strategies for his pick, who would have to stand for election in 2020 to fill out the remaining two years on Isakson’s term.
He could aim for a base-pleasing conservative who could help energize the party faithful. Or he could use his selection to target the Georgia GOP’s most glaring weakness - the party’s growing struggles in the Atlanta suburbs.
Here are other excerpts from the interview with Perdue.
“I’ve seen the evidence. There’s nothing that rises to the level of impeachment. I want the speaker to put this up for a formal inquiry, so you can subpoena people on both sides. Right now, we have a show trial by the Democrats. This is another demonstration of the obstructionism we’ve seen from day one.
“The people of America are fed up with this. People in Georgia want Congress to work. Why can’t we get past all the differences and get to business. We’ve done some things that really affect people’s lives in a good way. People want us to legislate – and stop all this investigation.”
On his opponents’ critiques of GOP inaction and corruption:
“Washington is broken. I saw that when I was running. We’ve made some progress there ... Right now, what have is the greatest economic turnaround that I can find in U.S. history, with 6.5 million new jobs, higher middle-class income and, by the way, the people benefiting from this turnaround are the lowest paid people in America – the lowest quartile of income has had the biggest increase.”
On his 2020 message:
“Our focus is very clear. Let’s focus on what we believe in and stop talking about what the failures of the other side are.”
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