New polls trigger new GOP battle in Georgia governor race

Two of the first public polls since former U.S. Sen. David Perdue launched a primary challenge against Gov. Brian Kemp have triggered a new round of attacks between the rival Republican campaigns.

The polls from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Quinnipiac University, both released within a day of each other, each put Kemp in better standing than his primary challenger.

The Quinnipiac poll pegged Kemp with a 7-point advantage over Perdue in the GOP primary. The AJC poll, meanwhile, gave him a wider lead than Perdue over Democrat Stacey Abrams in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup.

Kemp’s aides have relentlessly promoted the findings – and leveraged them to call on Perdue to drop out.

“David Perdue is the only thing standing in the way of a RED Georgia in 2022,” Kemp spokesman Cody Hall wrote on social media. “Does he care more about himself or the future of our state?”

The governor’s campaign followed up with a note to donors arguing that he’s the “best-positioned Republican” to defeat Abrams in November.

“Perdue’s primary campaign message has been that he is the only candidate who can beat Stacey Abrams in November,” the campaign wrote in the memo. “Public data, by reputable polling firms, continues to show that is simply not true.”

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Perdue’s campaign, meanwhile, found reason to be encouraged by the results. His aides highlighted Kemp’s unfavorable rating among Republican primary voters and Perdue’s double-digit increase in support compared with a December poll by Fox 5 News.

“Perdue has not yet begun his paid media efforts,” read the memo. “When Perdue begins running paid advertising and informing voters of Trump’s endorsement, this primary will continue to overwhelmingly move in Perdue’s direction.”

Austin Chambers, one of Perdue’s top strategists, made a bolder prediction.

“Perdue will win the primary by more than 14 points.”