The Jolt: David Perdue’s $8 million campaign war chest will be tough to beat

News and analysis from the AJC politics team
President Donald J. Trump and U.S. Sen. David Perdue, a Georgia Republican, listen during an announcement on immigration reform in August 2017. Photo by: Zach Gibson/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Credit: Zach Gibson

Combined ShapeCaption
President Donald J. Trump and U.S. Sen. David Perdue, a Georgia Republican, listen during an announcement on immigration reform in August 2017. Photo by: Zach Gibson/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Credit: Zach Gibson

Credit: Zach Gibson

U.S. Sen. David Perdue's campaign reports a $2.5 million fundraising haul for the final quarter of 2019, and he has nearly $8 million in the bank to fuel his re-campaign.

The only other candidate in this race who has announced figures is Democrat Jon Ossoff, who raised about $1 million. Ossoff didn't say how much cash he has on hand now, but his account stood at $1.3 million in October.

Even if he spent nothing during the last quarter, Ossoff wouldn’t have more than $2.3 million in hand. In other words, a fraction of the money to spend in hopes of unseating Perdue.

There is silence so far from Democrats Sarah Riggs Amico and Teresa Tomlinson, which could be an indication they did not keep up last quarter. We’ll know more soon because tonight is the deadline to report donations and expenditures for these months.

Perdue's strong showing to end 2019 means could be getting a boost from standing with President Donald Trump and opposing the House-led impeachment. It also demonstrates the tough road ahead for Democrats hoping to unseat an incumbent with generally solid approval numbers.

In addition, it’s a reminder that although both of Georgia’s U.S. senators are on the ballot the races will play out differently.

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler has already said she could spend $20 million or more of her own fortune to keep her seat. Loeffler has a lot of ground to make up when it comes to name recognition and job approval since she is only a month on the job. She is expected to do a lot more spending in hopes of shaking challenges from U.S. Rep. Doug Collins and Rev. Raphael Warnock, among others.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis is responding well to cancer treatment, former Ambassador Andrew Young told an Atlanta TV station.

"I don't think he'll be leaving us soon," Young told CBS46 News.

Young said that Lewis, an Atlanta Democrat, usually needs about a day to recover after each chemotherapy treatment he receives in Washington. But beyond that he is in good health and “back on the job.”



Both of Georgia's U.S. senators are expected to vote against requesting new impeachment witnesses, and President Donald Trump could be acquitted by the end of today.

"At this point, the case is essentially closed," U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler posted on Twitter Thursday night. "I just need a sandwich."

Her counterpart, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, went on Fox News earlier in the day and was just as critical of the House’s impeachment case as he was when the trial started two weeks ago.

He said as the case played out, he became even more convinced new witnesses are not needed.

"We can't go outside the scope of what we've already been given," he told Fox News' Sandra Smith.

Cox Radio's Jamie Dupree provided an interesting civics lesson on what might happen if the vote on calling witnesses ends in a 50-50 tie. Chief Justice John Roberts could cast the deciding vote to determine if the motion passes or fails.

Roberts could also refuse to vote, which would mean the motion fails.

Newly-minted candidate Raphael Warnock was expectedly critical of both Loeffler and Perdue's position on calling impeachment witnesses.

“It concerns me to hear senators who don’t want to hear from witnesses,” he said in an interview. “The notion that you want to know the truth but don’t want to hear from witnesses flies in the face of common sense.”

Asked whether he would support Trump’s ouster if he was in the chamber now, Warnock was non-committal. Said the Democrat:

“I love America and I believe in the wisdom of the framers of our Constitution. It is part of a covenant that we have with one another, and senators have sworn an oath to be impartial jurors. I’d be listening to the evidence and trying to be true to the pledge to be impartial.”

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has spoken out against President Donald Trump's recent policy announcement for the Middle East.

Carter in a statement Thursday described the president's offer for Israel to annex of key portions of Palestinian land as "fragmented statehood" which leaves Palestinians "without control of their borders ... and undercuts prospects for a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians," the AJC reported.

The director of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been appointed to the President's Coronavirus Task Force. Dr. Robert Redfield will join national security advisors, public health officials and policy experts in helping coordinate the White House response to the newly designated global health emergency.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr and three victims of human trafficking who met with Ivanka Trump in Atlanta earlier this month are expected to attend a summit on the issue this morning at the White House.

Georgia U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson has joined with U.S. senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren to introduce a sweeping gun control proposal that checks just about every box Democrats could hope for on the issue.

It contains hot-potato provisions like raising the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21, universal background checks, banning guns from all school campuses and a mandatory seven-day waiting period for gun purchases.

As a result, the bill is likely to face strong opposition in the GOP-controlled Senate and from the White House. Even some Democrats may be wary of lending support even if they support its goal of reducing the number of gun deaths and mass shootings in the United States.

Add another name to the list of candidates for U.S. Rep. Doug Collins' House seat now that he is running for the U.S. Senate.

State Rep. Kevin Tanner, chair of the House Transportation Committee, joined the field competing for the northeast Georgia seat. He instantly won support from Chris Riley, the former top aide to Gov. Nathan Deal.

State Sen. John Wilkinson of Toccoa, a Collins ally, entered the race moments after he launched his Senate campaign. But other candidates are also itching to jump in, including former U.S. Rep. Paul Broun and state Rep. Emory Dunahoo.

The Club for Growth, a conservative group, announced Thursday that it purchased ad time in Georgia to attack Doug Collins during his run against U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler.

Club for Growth is among several high profile groups that are backing Loeffler over Collins. Politico reported that the group plans to spend $3 million on TV ads, which will criticize Collins' record on economic issues.

U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, a Republican from Monroe, wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Examiner where he defined being "pro-life" as not just anti-abortion. He said being pro-life means he opposes anything that would harm natural human life regardless of a person's age.

"In truth, the call to protect the sanctity of human life does not apply only to the unborn," Hice wrote. "It is a mission that extends from conception to adolescence to old age to death."

That statement raised eyebrows among Democrats, who pointed out that Hice supports the death penalty which they say qualifies as a non-natural end to life. Hice’s office, at our request, confirmed his views on capital punishment but pushed back on the implication that it doesn’t line up with his definition for “pro-life.”

“Capital punishment is a different discussion, as are the issues of war and self-defense,” a Hice spokeswoman said. “The pro-life movement stands for the protection of innocent life — not violent criminals, enemies of our country, or individuals who threaten our personal lives or families.”