Sonny Perdue meets Donald Trump: 'I'd be happy to serve'

Former Gov. Sonny Perdue paid a visit to Trump Tower a day after the president-elect named another prominent Peach State GOPer to his Cabinet.

Perdue made the trek to New York Wednesday afternoon amid speculation that he's on Trump's short list for secretary of agriculture. The Republican spent nearly two hours at Trump Tower.

Perdue later told reporters that he did not talk about filling any specific position in the Trump administration, but said Trump asked him about his "skill sets."

"I'm interested in helping the country," said Perdue, who was decked out in a tie with tractors on it and a backpack. "I told the president-elect Trump that I would be happy to serve from Georgia, where I am very happily living with my wife and 14 grandchildren, or I'd be happy to serve him if he thought I could be helpful to him here in D.C."

Perdue called the meeting "very genuine, honest, forthright" and said the two discussed agriculture, trade and the economy.

Perdue was Georgia's first Republican governor since Reconstruction when he was elected in 2002. He was also an early Trump supporter, stumping for him in middle Georgia in the final months of the campaign. His first cousin, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, was one of Trump's highest-profile surrogates in the South.

“Sonny’s background in business, his medical background, his executive background as a governor make him an ideal choice,” David Perdue said in an interview Tuesday. “In fact, I think he may be the best choice I know in America to be in that ag position if he gets considered.”

A member of Trump's agriculture advisory board, Sonny Perdue helped craft Georgia agriculture policy in the 1990s as a Democratic state senator from Houston County before switching to the GOP in 1998. His surprise victory over Gov. Roy Barnes triggered a Republican wave in Georgia that flipped the state Senate, then the state House and now left the Georgia GOP in control of all statewide offices.

Since leaving office in 2011, Perdue has run a string of trucking, agriculture and logistics firms from his base in middle Georgia.

Other contenders for the post reportedly include Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller and U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas.

Perdue's former campaign manager, Nick Ayers, is now a top aide to Vice President-elect Mike Pence and a central player in Trump's transition team.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that...