Perdue shows off GOP unity, in contrast to Georgia’s other Senate race

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., asks questions during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Department of Defense Spectrum Policy and the Impact of the Federal Communications Commission’s Ligado Decision on National Security during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 6, 2020. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)

The Republican rift over U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s seat is deepening by the day. But David Perdue is eager to prove he’s united GOP voters in Georgia’s other U.S. Senate race.

The first-term incumbent rolled out endorsements on Friday from several former Republican U.S. senators from Georgia: Johnny Isakson, Saxby Chambliss, Mack Mattingly and Nancy Coverdell, the wife of the late Sen. Paul Coverdell.

None of these statements of support come as any surprise, but they’re meant to put some distance between his contest and the bitter GOP feud over Loeffler’s seat.

His campaign wants to frame him as a unifying Republican, even as the party splits between Loeffler and U.S. Rep. Doug Collins in the other contest.

That reflects the tricky path he must navigate to win a second term in November, when he faces a well-financed challenge from Democrat Jon Ossoff. Libertarian Shane Hazel is also in the race.

Perdue is so popular among fellow Republicans that he didn’t draw a primary challenger, but polls show him in a tight race against Ossoff, an investigative journalist who narrowly lost a nationally-watched 2017 congressional bid.

And he’s struggling to compete for attention with the back-and-forth between Loeffler and Collins, which peaked this week with another major development. House Speaker David Ralston, one of the state’s most powerful politicians, formally endorsed Collins.

In his bid for re-election, Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue, left, faces Democrat Jon Ossoff.

Here are the statements:

Former U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson:

“For the better part of five years, I had the honor of working directly with David to represent Georgia in the United States Senate. I’ve seen firsthand how dedicated he is to improving our health care system, taking care of our veterans, and expanding opportunities for our young people. We need David Perdue to keep fighting for us in the Senate. He is my good friend and was always a true partner in serving the people of Georgia.”

Former U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss:

“David Perdue is still the same political outsider he was in 2014, but in the last six years, he has demonstrated a unique ability to reach across the aisle and get results for Georgia. David has kept his promises to stand up for Georgia farmers, our men and women in uniform and their families, students, and small businesses. He has delivered funding for the Port of Savannah, HBCU scholarships, and relief for healthcare workers during COVID-19. I’m proud of the way David represents all of us and I look forward to six more years of his leadership in the United States Senate.”

Former U.S. Senator Mack Mattingly:

“Today, the future of Georgia and our nation is at risk. David Perdue is a true statesman, conservative, person of highest character, voice of calm and reason, and balance in the current chaos of Washington. In picking up the mantle of this enormous responsibility, he has become my deeply trusted friend. David is fighting for our men and women in uniform, farmers, and Georgia families. The balance of the U.S. Senate is possibly the most important vote this year, and we must put forward the most trusted, intellectual, real-life experienced, and accomplished person we can. Whether or not you voted for me in 1980 - or whether you are one of the many who have found a home in Georgia since then - I am asking you to vote for Senator David Perdue for now and for our future.”

Nancy Coverdell, wife of former U.S. Senator Paul Coverdell:

“It has always been rare to see our Senators reach across the aisle to get things done, especially without caring who gets the credit. Rarer still to see those who believe they are there to do the people’s business, and that once elected, they represent every person, not just those in their party. Now more than ever, we need more public servants like David Perdue in the U.S. Senate, not less.”

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