David Perdue is getting another $2M boost ahead of May primary

David Perdue is getting another major boost from an outside group with ties to Donald Trump in his bid to unseat Gov. Brian Kemp.

It’s not immediately clear if Trump’s Save America PAC is behind the new cash infusion, and the former president’s spokesman declined comment.

But a group called Take Back Georgia linked to a pro-Trump state legislator booked roughly $2 million worth of airtime for ads starting this week featuring the former president’s endorsement.

The new spending comes a few weeks after Trump’s PAC spent $500,000 boosting Perdue, the first major financial investment from the former president’s political operation in a midterm race this cycle.

Still, the former senator’s chances in the May 24 primary might depend on whether Trump is willing to further loosen the purse strings of his PAC’s account – stocked with more than $120 million – to keep up with his rival.

More: Kemp races to slam door on Perdue’s insurgent challenge

Kemp’s campaign reserved $4.2 million in airtime through the May 24 primary and released a trio of new ads earlier this month. The Republican Governor’s Association booked another $5 million in TV ad time to boost Kemp’s reelection bid.

Perdue, by contrast, had less than $1 million in cash on hand in his last financial disclosure, though he has signaled he has more financial flexibility in recent days. His campaign said this week it plans to spend $500,000 on a new TV ad blitz.

The governor is aiming for a knockout blow in May. If he lands a majority of the vote, he avoids a damaging June runoff against Perdue. But even with a double-digit lead in the polls and a hefty financial advantage, a clean victory is no easy prospect.

Kemp has built his edge over Perdue despite the aggressive intervention from Trump. The former president staged a late March rally for Perdue, cut a TV ad promoting his endorsement and held a fundraiser at his Florida estate to help replenish his coffers.

Combined ShapeCaption
David Perdue, Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp

Credit: AJC

David Perdue, Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp

Credit: AJC

Combined ShapeCaption
David Perdue, Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp

Credit: AJC

Credit: AJC

Why is Trump so intent on defeating his former ally? The former president has vowed to defeat Kemp after he refused to call a special legislative session and declined to take other steps to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia.

By contrast, Perdue said he would have summoned lawmakers back to the Capitol and that he would have refused to certify the election results, something Kemp was bound by law to do.

The former president’s vendetta against Kemp has mushroomed beyond the governor. He’s endorsed several little-known down-ticket candidates to oppose the governor’s allies, and said he’d rather see Democrat Stacey Abrams win in November than Kemp.

And on Thursday, Trump unleashed his latest attack on the governor he once endorsed, saying he will “never be able to win the the general election” against Democrat Stacey Abrams “because a large number of Republicans just will not vote for him.”

The $2 million infusion went to Take Back Georgia, a political organization with ties to state Sen. Brandon Beach, one of the only GOP state legislators who has endorsed Perdue. Beach declined to comment.

The governor, meanwhile, has been on an extended campaign tour around the state signing into law a range of measures aimed at energizing conservative voters.

That includes the proposal he approved this month that allows Georgians to carry concealed handguns without a permit. Next week, he plans to sign a raft of law-and-order measures aimed at conservative voters.

Both campaigns are watching closely whether Trump dips deeper into his political organization’s account. A Trump spokesman wouldn’t divulge details of his plans, saying he doesn’t “telegraph campaign investments, strategy, or tactics through the press.”

Trump, however, has tempered expectations by predicting Kemp will be “hard to beat.”

He recently told a conservative radio show host that he might return to Georgia for another event but “it’s a shame, it’s a shame -- not easy to beat a sitting governor. Just remember that.”