The Jolt: Another billion dollar election year in Georgia?

News and analysis from the politics team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Then-Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., arrives for former Vice President Mike Pence's Defend the Majority Rally on Dec. 10, 2020, in Augusta, Georgia. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Then-Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., arrives for former Vice President Mike Pence's Defend the Majority Rally on Dec. 10, 2020, in Augusta, Georgia. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

It’s “jaw-dropping” news, read the Democratic dispatch, which asserted the “entire landscape of 2022 just changed.”

And for once, a fundraising appeal wasn’t hyperbole.

Former U.S. Sen. David Perdue plans to announce his campaign for Georgia governor on Monday, setting the stage for a brutal Republican primary against Gov. Brian Kemp, his one-time ally.

It also sets the stage for another wildly expensive year in Georgia politics, a potential sequel to this year’s eye-popping U.S. Senate runoffs, which racked up nearly $1 billion in spending by the Republican and Democratic campaigns, along with outside interests, before the votes were counted.

Within hours of the news Sunday night that Perdue will run, the Democratic Party of Georgia was asking supporters to help prepare to run against whichever Republican emerges from the fight.

“We can win the governor’s race right now if we play this right,” they wrote.

On the Republican side, Gov. Kemp’s new leadership PAC, Georgians’ First, Inc., made it known that it’s training its sites on Perdue, even though the PAC was originally envisioned as a mechanism to keep pace with Abrams’ fundraising prowess in 2022.

“David Perdue gave the U.S Senate to Schumer, Kamala, and Bernie,” Georgians First posted to Twitter. “Tomorrow, we’ll start reminding David of why voters rejected him at the ballot box - twice.”

Expect Perdue to launch his campaign today as a reluctant warrior, someone who was talked into running to “save” the state from an Abrams victory.

His campaign website, which went live late Sunday, said as much. It presents Perdue as a “bold conservative to unite Georgia” and asks donors to “join our team to stop Stacey Abrams.”

Perdue’s fundraising will be something to watch. Although it’s traditionally an uphill battle to convince donors to give money to unseat a sitting governor, Perdue is a proven high-dollar fundraiser.

He’s coming off a Senate campaign where he raised more than $100 million-- and, along with Sen. Jon Ossoff, was one half of the most expensive Senate race in American history.

Along with the 2022 contest between U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and a possible Herschel Walker GOP nominee, we could be looking at another billion-dollar year, with Georgia in the national headlines and at the top of the money race.


In addition to announcing his entrance into the GOP primary for the governor’s mansion, David Perdue will make his race Twitter official at 9:30 this morning when he changes his social media handle from “PerdueSenate” to “DavidPerdueGA.”

And he’ll be a guest on Martha Zoller’s WDUN radio show Tuesday morning at 9:30 am.

Perdue used his last appearance on Zoller’s show to telegraph a potential message against Kemp for the conservative Gainesville audience, so this will be well worth a listen, too.

“We have a divided party in Georgia right now,” Perdue told Zoller last month, adding, “A lot of people feel like that people in power haven’t fought for them and caved in to a lot of things back in 2020 that didn’t have to be done.”


POSTED: The National Defense Authorization Act remains stalled in the Senate over procedural disagreements. The annual Pentagon policy bill includes billions in potential spending on Georgia projects and military bases.

Lawmakers are hopeful to get the bill moving this week, keeping their 60-year streak alive of passing this bill each year. But Congress is also starting to grapple with the fact that the nation could reach its debt limit next week.


The executive director of the Democratic Party of Georgia has written to a top Justice Department official contending that U.S. Senate candidate Gary Black failed to file his personal financial disclosure.

The letter from Scott Hogan requests a full investigation into the matter, along with a $200 fine for the late filing. You can read the letter here.

In response, Black’s campaign spokesman told the AJC that the campaign did, indeed, fail to file the disclosure report and chalked it up to an “administrative oversight.”

“The Democrats can untwist their knickers and read the personal financial disclosures Gary files every year with similar information,” Dan McLagan said, adding that the campaign planned to file its disclosure with the Secretary of the Senate before the Democrats “can finish their fainting spell.”


Herschel Walker’s views on race are complicated and shaped by his upbringing in rural Georgia, according to a lengthy piece by Michael Kruse in Politico magazine.

Kruse writes that Walker largely avoided talking publicly about politics, racism or race issues from his earliest years as a star athlete in Wrightsville. More:

Walker believed, he said, not in “Black and white" but in “right and wrong," according to a biography published in 1983. “I never really liked," he wrote in his memoir in 2009, “the idea that I was to represent my people. My parents raised me to believe that I represented humanity — people — and not black people, white people, yellow people, or any other color …"

But after a lifetime of mainly steering clear of making head-on comments on matters of racial conflict, Walker only relatively recently began to more overtly engage in the political arena — and did so on behalf of a polarizing white celebrity-politician who had earned a reputation for stoking the very racial divisions Walker says he was taught and inclined to evade.

- Politico


It’s not just Buckhead. Some members of the Cobb County state delegation are tapping the brakes on the four cityhood efforts underway in Cobb, according to Chart Riggall in the Marietta Daily Journal. More:

“(State Rep. Erick) Allen announced earlier this week he would not support any of the cityhood efforts in East Cobb, Lost Mountain, Mableton or Vinings. Allen told the MDJ Wednesday he wouldn't back the movements until a study was done on their impact to county government, and reiterated that point Friday.

“I like the component of individual communities being able to determine their destiny, and that is a good thing," Allen said. “We have done feasibility studies on all four of the cities, and all four are feasible. But there has been no study on what the impact to the county would be. I personally am a resident of unincorporated Cobb … and I want to know what that's going to be."

- Marietta Daily Journal

Offering a dissent, state Rep. Ed Setzler, R-Ackworth, called the cityhood proposals “a high-minded effort” and “a beautiful thing we should all support.”


U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux is hosting a telephone town hall meeting for constituents on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The agenda for the 7th District Democrat includes updates from Washington, plus time for Q&A.

RSVP here.


Lateefa Conner, a Paulding County Democrat, has dropped her bid to challenge U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, she wrote on Twitter Sunday.

Conner endorsed Rome City Councilwoman Wendy Davis, one of three other Democrats running in the 14th Congressional District, instead.

Along with the three Democratic challengers, Greene will also face three GOP challengers in her May 24 primary.


Next year will be an election year for several mayors around Georgia, too. Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson will run for reelection, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports.

Henderson was elected in 2018 with 56% of the vote. He’ll face at least two challengers in the May 24th election, according to the paper.


Our condolences to U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, whose father passed away on Tuesday, according to an email to constituents on Friday.

Rev. Robert “Bob” Clyde, who served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and later in the U.S. Air Force, died at age 95. The elder Clyde also served as a chaplain aboard the USS Norton Sound, the Navy’s first guided missile ship, during the Korean War.

“My father was a true American patriot, who loved his Lord, his family, and his country deeply,” Rep. Clyde wrote. “As a child, he would always tell me to do my best and ask me if the job I had done was worthy of my family name.”

Clyde’s mother, Audrey, died in April.


Georgia U.S. Reps. David Scott and Jody Hice now have to pay up. On Friday, the two announced they had entered into a friendly, bipartisan wager against Alabama Reps. Robert Aderholt, a Republican like Hice, and Terri Sewell, a Democrat like Scott.

Had the University of Georgia had won Saturday’s SEC Championship game, Aderhold and Sewell would have owed a lunch of Alabama barbecue, Alabama sweet potato pies and a “Bama in a Box” shipment of Alabama-made products.

But the top-ranked Bulldogs were upset by Alabama’s Crimson Tide, and now Hice and Scott will have to make good on their offer of Georgia peach preserves from Southern Belle Farms in Henry County, fresh biscuits, Georgia pecan pie from Mary Mac’s Tea Room, Georgia peanut brittle and a case of Coca-Cola products of their colleagues’ choosing.


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