Kemp presses Perdue to quit race amid ‘lackluster’ fundraising

The subject line of the email to Gov. Brian Kemp’s top donors simply read “these are important numbers.” But the Republican’s campaign hopes they punctuate his position that only he can defeat Democrat Stacey Abrams in November.

Overshadowed by a spate of other political developments, campaign donation records released this week show Kemp has built a significant financial edge over former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, his top Republican adversary.

Despite being a prolific fundraiser in 2020, Perdue reported less than $900,000 in his campaign account. The wealthy former executive also hasn’t yet pumped his own money into his campaign, instead relying on about $1.1 million in donations since December.

By contrast, Kemp raised $7.4 million in the seven months between July and Jan. 31, ending that period with $12.7 million in the bank. In the 56 days of Perdue’s campaign, Kemp raised more than double his rival, amassing $2.5 million.

“The numbers are crystal clear: David Perdue does not have the resources to win this primary, but he does have the ability to elect Stacey Abrams as our next governor,” Kemp’s campaign wrote in the memo.

“A brutal primary, where our campaign is forced to engage significant resources, is Stacey Abrams’ surest path to victory,” it said.

Perdue’s campaign cheered the more than 12,000 unique donations made to the campaign, most of which were small-dollar contributions. He also celebrated a legal ruling that restricts Kemp from spending money from a special committee that can collect unlimited contributions.

At a campaign stop in Cartersville, Perdue mocked Kemp’s money edge, urging the crowd to ignore “all the lies they’re going to pull on TV.”

“They think they’re going to bully me out of this race, they don’t know how to spell my last name. They don’t know how to do this,” he said.

“They said, ‘Oh, we’ve got $13 million, and David’s only got $1 million.’ Well, I got outspent in 2014 by the same amount,” he said. “This is an election about people versus politicians.”

Perdue was the underdog in that contest, though it was held under far different circumstances: In that race, he was competing for an open U.S. Senate seat. In this one, he’s vying against an incumbent Republican governor who isn’t afraid to use his sweeping powers of incumbency.

Neither Kemp nor Perdue has kept pace with Abrams, who has raised more than $9.2 million since December. A constellation of allied groups can spend millions more promoting her agenda.

Pointing to the Democrat’s loaded bank account, Kemp’s campaign said Perdue’s “lackluster” fundraising should be a wake-up call to conservatives.

“Every day David Perdue stays in this race is a day Abrams gets closer to the Governor’s Mansion.”