Kemp counters Perdue’s pro-Trump message with more Trump

February 1, 2022 Atlanta - Governor Brian Kemp speaks during a press conference to announce plans to spend millions of dollars on expanding internet throughout Georgia, especially in rural areas that lack access at the State Capitol in Atlanta on Tuesday, February 1, 2022. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

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February 1, 2022 Atlanta - Governor Brian Kemp speaks during a press conference to announce plans to spend millions of dollars on expanding internet throughout Georgia, especially in rural areas that lack access at the State Capitol in Atlanta on Tuesday, February 1, 2022. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Former U.S. Sen. David Perdue has made clear that his campaign for governor revolves around Donald Trump. But Gov. Brian Kemp also has no problem invoking the former president to promote his campaign.

Days after Perdue released a Trump-filled debut TV ad, Kemp’s campaign followed up with an ad that also featured the former president.

Of course, this was no direct-to-camera endorsement like Perdue’s spot. Trump has vowed to defeat Kemp after he didn’t heed his demands to overturn the election.

Instead, Kemp wants to use Trump’s nationalist agenda to damage Perdue, a former Fortune 500 chief executive who once said he was “proud” of shifting manufacturing and jobs overseas.

The ad, financed by Kemp’s leadership committee, opens with footage from Trump at a 2016 debate promising to “bring jobs back from China” before pivoting to an attack on Perdue for his history of outsourcing jobs while a corporate chief executive.

About halfway through the 30-second spot, a hashtag appears for a split-second with the hashtag “#BeijingDave,” previewing a new line of attack for Kemp.

“That’s David Perdue,” the ad closes. “Putting himself first, and America last.”

In the U.S. Senate, Perdue embraced Trump’s populist brand and leaned on his corporate experience to frame himself as the “ultimate outsider.” He’s made a Trump-flavored addition to his slogan this campaign, dubbing himself the “America First conservative outsider.”

The winner of the May primary will face Stacey Abrams, whose campaign has mocked the Trump obsession.

“I’m purposely not going to name the non-Georgian in the opponent’s ad, because as Stacey has said, our campaign will not be impacted by him,” Abrams campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo wrote in a memo to donors on Thursday.

“But we owe it to Georgians to make sure the conversation in this gubernatorial race is about them – not about divisive Republicans from Georgia, Florida or anywhere else.”