Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, center, walks with President Donald Trump, right, and Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga) as Trump arrives for a rally Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, in Macon, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Photo: John Bazemore/AP
Photo: John Bazemore/AP

The Jolt: Trump, U.S. Sen. David Perdue to appear at Atlanta fundraiser

U.S. Sen. David Perdue will bookend this week in Georgia politics, beginning with a noon appearance today before Atlanta Rotarians.

The soon-to-be-senior senator will end it on Friday afternoon with a top-dollar Atlanta fundraiser featuring President Donald Trump, who is likely to be the defendant in an impeachment trial next year, with members of the U.S. Senate as jurors.

There are senators who have recently demurred on the topic of Trump, citing this prospect. Perdue isn’t one of them.

The Georgia senator, who is up for re-election next year, was one of several Republicans who attended Game 5 of the World Series with the president eight days ago. Last week, in an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier, Perdue said there wasn't a chance in hell” that he and his colleagues would vote to oust Trump from the White House.

We think we know one note that Perdue is likely to hit this afternoon. In a new opinion piece on the Fox News website, Perdue slams Democrats for playing down the significance of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death and holding up defense bills on Capitol Hill as they aim to block funding for Trump’s border wall.

That Trump/Perdue fundraiser on Friday is a luncheon. No location has been announced. The White House schedule also has the president participating “in a roundtable with supporters” during his Atlanta visit. Presumably, this will be the meeting with African-American Republicans that we’ve heard of.

***

With the finish of the 2020 presidential contest now less than a year away, the latest in a series of polls in specific battleground states, conducted by The New York Times Upshot and Siena College, indicate that President Donald Trump is within reach of another Electoral College victory. From the newspaper:

In contrast to recent national surveys, the Times/Siena polls find that the president’s lead among white, working-class voters nearly matches his decisive advantage from 2016. This group represents nearly half of registered voters in these states, and a majority in the Northern battlegrounds that decided the last election.

The poll offers little evidence that any Democrat, including Mr. Biden, has made substantial progress toward winning back the white working-class voters who defected to the president in 2016, at least so far. All the leading Democratic candidates trail in the precincts or counties that voted for Barack Obama and then flipped to Mr. Trump.

***

The Georgia Bulldogs victory over Florida’s Gators on Saturday means Gov. Brian Kemp avoids a trip to the Everglades to track giant Burmese pythons. Instead, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will cross the state line to hunt feral hogs that have ravaged South Georgia farms.

It is possible that one of your Insiders will be invited as bait.

But it might be more useful if the governor were to invite Hal Shouse, a Smithville, Ga., applicant for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Johnny Isakson, for a two-pigs-with-one stone interview.

Shouse operates HogSWAT, a “tactical” feral hog control company in southwest Georgia.

***

Former President Barack Obama will address some of the Democratic Party’s biggest mega-donors at a closed-door meeting in Washington in two weeks. Right beside him will be Stacey Abrams.

The Georgia Democrat is set to hold a conversation with Obama during the secretive Democracy Alliance conference, according to The Washington Post. The event spans from Nov. 13-16. 

It’s the latest sign of Obama’s increasing political involvement ahead of the 2020 election, coming right before he heads to Silicon Valley for a big-ticket fundraiser. He will also be in Atlanta to headline an environmental conference on Nov. 20 -- the same day as the Democratic debate will be held in the city.

***

From the ICYMI file:

-- Georgia Senate candidate Teresa Tomlinson’s former finance director, a veteran of the Stacey Abrams campaign, has blasted the Democratic candidate’s “thoughtless and cruel” behavior after she was let go by the campaign.

-- An anti-abortion group calling itself Created Equal will have a Jumbo-Tron screen on the Georgia Tech campus today, displaying abortion videos. 

***

Voters in Mississippi and Kentucky will have gubernatorial elections on Tuesday. The Kentucky race, where GOP incumbent Matt Blevins faces Democrat Andy Beshear, will be the more closely watched, given the support that President Trump has offered Blevins.

Kentucky has also served as a laboratory for Republican messaging, specifically on the topic of transgender issues. From the New York Times:

If Democrats have their way, soon boys will be able to compete against girls in school sports.

This scenario, presented in a pair of ads that are appearing on computer screens and smartphones across Kentucky, is the work of a little-known group funded by anonymous donors called the American Principles Project, which in recent years has focused on fighting more familiar clashes in the culture wars over same-sex marriage and abortion rights.

The group is limiting its work to Kentucky for now, but strategists say it has bigger ambitions. It is effectively running a pilot program for the 2020 election that will help it determine how it could use the debate over transgender rights to rally conservative voters in support of President Trump.

***

Georgia State University economist Michael Pesko and his colleagues are suggesting that legislation to tax e-cigarettes proportionately to cigarettes, recently approved by a U.S. House committee, could boost the sale of traditional cigarettes. From the press release:

“Our results suggest that while cigarette taxes reduce cigarette use, and e-cigarette taxes reduce e-cigarette use, they also have important interactions on each other. E-cigarettes and cigarettes are economic substitutes,” said Pesko, an assistant professor in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. “So, if you raise the tax on one product, you will increase use of the other product.”

***

Over at the Saporta Report, David Pendered tells us that the recent rainfall came too late for Georgia’s Georgia's cotton and peanut farmers.

***

The Federal Elections Commission has flagged David Perdue’s re-election campaign for accepting “apparent excessive, prohibited and impermissible contributions” that include many super PACs.

The donations include contributions from Phil Wilheit, a Republican mega-donor; the Fulton County GOP; and groups affiliated with state Reps. Dave Belton, Katie Dempsey, Jodi Lott, Chad Nimmer and Rick Williams.

Among the super PACs listed as apparently donating excessively to Perdue are the National Cotton Council Committee, the American Peanut Shellers Association and Exxon Mobil’s PAC. 

Perdue spokeswoman Casey Black said they were “routine letters” and that “any clerical errors are being updated to ensure full compliance.” 

Perdue’s campaign earlier this year paid the FEC a $30,000 fine for campaign finance violations dating back to the Republican's first bid for office in 2014. 

It came after an FEC auditor "found Perdue’s campaign took more than $117,000 in prohibited contributions during the previous campaign, as well as more than $325,000 that exceeded legal limits on campaign donations. 

At the time, Perdue’s aides blamed “some typical bookkeeping errors that occur on a campaign of this size in order to bring this matter to close.”

***

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan’s Republican colleagues are giving his “Advance Georgia” initiative a show of support. Gov. Brian Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr have tweeted about the Duncan-led push to defend vulnerable Republican senators and target two Democratic-held seats. So did the Georgia GOP, which is led by David Shafer - who was narrowly defeated by Duncan in the 2018 GOP runoff. 

***

We’ve updated the list of applicants for U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s job with all the people who have submitted resumes to Gov. Brian Kemp’s office through Halloween. Take a look here.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X