The Jolt: David Perdue targets Gov. Brian Kemp’s prized Rivian deal

News and analysis from the politics team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
David Perdue and Brian Kemp

Credit: AJC

Credit: AJC

David Perdue and Brian Kemp

David Perdue is targeting Gov. Brian Kemp’s most prized economic development accomplishment: The $5 billion Rivian plant that’s set to be built in east Georgia.

Perdue is a former Fortune 500 chief executive well-versed in the ways of expanding businesses through tax breaks and other public incentives.

So it’s notable that he’s headlining a Tuesday event in Rutledge “to stop Soros-funded Rivian and protect rural Georgia” to rally conservative supporters behind his gubernatorial bid.

That’s a reference to the recent disclosure that billionaire investor George Soros, a Democratic mega-donor vilified by conservatives, bought a more than $1 billion stake in the electric vehicle startup.

Perdue is trying to tap into local backlash to the project. Several congressional candidates have also criticized the private negotiations and public dollars involved in landing the plant, which is set to generate at least 7,500 new jobs. Perdue called it an election-year “scheme” to promote Kemp’s political fortunes.

“Real economic development is straightforward. Growth should be organic, and the local community and its leaders should be involved in the process,” he said. “Obviously, that is not the case here.”

It’s exceedingly rare for top candidates for statewide office to critique major jobs deals. When Kemp announced the Rivian development in December, for instance, Democrat Stacey Abrams praised the company’s union record. Perdue’s first-cousin, former Gov. Sonny Perdue, celebrated Kia Motors at events around the state when it decided to build a plant in West Point after the South Korean firm was offered a bounty of incentives.

It’s not yet clear exactly what perks Kemp’s administration offered Rivian, and the company’s executives recently told residents that the negotiations are still ongoing. But key details have already emerged for what’s expected to be the largest incentive package in state history.

The state’s spending plan includes $125 million for land and training costs, and hundreds of millions more in tax incentives are embedded in Georgia law. A proposal that would let the company sell its vehicles directly to Georgians is pending. Infrastructure improvements are in the works.

The automaker, meanwhile, recently said in a statement it will continue “introducing ourselves and working with the local communities to address their questions.”


UNDER THE GOLD DOME, Monday, Feb. 28:

  • 8:00 a.m.: Committee meetings throughout the day;
  • 10:00 a.m.: The House convenes;
  • 10:00 a.m.: The Senate gavels in.


We’ll be watching the state Senate floor Monday, where three bills focusing on guns or gun-related crimes are up for consideration.

The highest profile is SB 319, the “Georgia Constitutional Carry Act,” which would eliminate the current state requirement to obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon in Georgia.

SB 479 deals with sentencing for gun crimes committed by previously convicted felons.

SB 259 would prevent jurisdictions from sharing information from weapons carry databases with other jurisdictions, along with other changes. A 2nd amendment lobbyist testifying in favor of the bill described the ability for jurisdictions to share information about licensees as a “backdoor registry, which we oppose.”


The “silence by Republican Party leaders is deafening and enabling.”

That’s what U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney said about Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene decision to address a white nationalist conference on Friday.

Since then, several GOP groups and luminaries criticized Greene in unsparing terms for participating in the rally, where attendees cheered Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and chanted Vladimir Putin’s name before she took the stage.

Sen. Mitt Romney said Greene’s appearance reminded him of the line from Butch Cassidy, “Morons. I’ve got morons on my team.”

Former Sec. of State Mike Pompeo called Greene’s decision to go to the conference “shameful.”

“Associating with anti-Semitic neo-Nazis is not consistent with the conservative values I’ve defended for decades. Representative Taylor-Greene playing footsie with Nick Fuentes and his splinter movement is shameful.”

We haven’t heard much backlash from Georgia Republicans, who have either tried to steer clear of Greene or cozied up to her.

But several will have a chance to make their voices heard this Saturday, when GOP Senate frontrunner Herschel Walker, U.S. Rep. Jody Hice and other GOP candidates will share the stage with her at her “Shall Not Be Infringed” northwest Georgia rally she has organized for gun rights.

Also on hand will be U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon hosting his podcast live from the event.


While statewide Republicans may be trying to stay out of sight on the Marjorie Taylor Greene problem, several Republicans in her 14th Congressional District spoke out against her loudly over the weekend, including her three GOP primary opponents, the Rome News Tribune reports.

But the strongest condemnation came from the former chair of the Rome Republican Party.

“I spent 10 years building our Republican Party here in Rome -- three of those years as county chair,” Andy Garner said in a statement Sunday. “I care deeply about our party and my community. This is not who we are. It’s time to stand up to Mrs. Greene.”

Greene said later she refused to be a part of “guilt by association” with Nick Fuentes, the white nationalist leader who introduced her at his conference, and said she spoke to the assembled white nationalists there to “embrace the young, boisterous and energetic conservatives in our movement.”


With the global national security crisis in Ukraine unfolding, Donald Trump made time over the weekend to weigh in on behalf of the Buckhead City movement.

Not only did Trump call Atlanta “a national story and a regional embarrassment,” he also slammed “RINO’s” like Gov. Brian Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, and curiously, far lower-profile GOP state senators Jeff Mullis, John Albers, and Butch Miller.

We say “curiously” because not only have those senators signaled their past support for a Buckhead cityhood bill, they continue to be crucial to any effort in the future. More importantly, Trump would need a source close to the Buckhead cityhood movement to direct pass him those lesser-known names to malign in his public statement.

It’s not a strategy that’s worked well in the past.


President Joe Biden announced Friday that he plans to nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Both of Georgia’s Democratic senators, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, released statements saying they look forward to meeting with Jackson ahead of her confirmation hearings and, if all goes well, a vote on the Senate floor.


Georgia’s U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock also responded to the news that soldiers stationed at Fort Stewart would be deploying to Europe in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Both spoke Friday to Major General Charles Costanza, commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division and Fort Stewart, where more than 3,000 troops prepared last week to deploy to Germany in response to the Russian invasion.

“I am deeply grateful for our servicemembers and their families, who face this time of uncertainty with courage and resolve,” Warnock said in a statement. “I will continue doing everything in my power to support our military and all those responding to this crisis, and if any Georgians need assistance related to this crisis, please reach out to my office so that we can help.”

A spokesman for Ossoff said the senator also offered his full support for the 3rd ID’s mission, soldiers and the families who remain stateside.


For your planner:

* U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux will host a town hall meeting Thursday to discuss economic development opportunities in south Gwinnett County, including the towns of Lilburn, Snellville, and Centerville.

The Lilburn event will feature representatives from several community improvement districts in the area. Bourdeaux also will answer questions from the audience and the media.

* Seven GOP candidates for the 6th Congressional District race will be at a “Town Hall and Q&A” Thursday at Lanier Tech Forsyth. Planned topics include, “K12, elections, border security, and medical freedom,” which gives some insight into the priorities of GOP candidates this cycle. The primary results will tell us what GOP voters’ own priorities turn out to be.


As always, Jolt readers are some of our favorite tipsters. Send your best scoop, gossip and insider info to, and

Sign Up to receive the Morning Jolt & AJC Politics newsletters in your inbox.