The Jolt: Is Donald Trump lowering expectations for David Perdue?

News and analysis from the politics team at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
March 26, 2022 Commerce - David Perdue takes on the stage during a rally for Georgia GOP candidates at Banks County Dragway in Commerce on Saturday, March 26, 2022. (Hyosub Shin /



March 26, 2022 Commerce - David Perdue takes on the stage during a rally for Georgia GOP candidates at Banks County Dragway in Commerce on Saturday, March 26, 2022. (Hyosub Shin /

Is Donald Trump trying to lower expectations for David Perdue in May’s GOP primary against Gov. Brian Kemp? That’s what it sounded like Tuesday during an interview with the far-right One America Network days after his rally for the gubernatorial candidate.

“I endorse a lot of people that are long shots,” Trump said, panning Kemp as a “poor” leader.

“Hopefully David Perdue is going to win. These are not sure things. If I lose one along the way, which you have to, right, they’re going to say, ‘This is a humiliating experience.’ I could be 100 wins and one loss, and they’d make it sound like this is humiliating. These are very dishonest people.”

If Trump wants some distance, Perdue doesn’t seem to feel the same way. He made three campaign stops in the Metro Atlanta area Tuesday, stumping with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and talking up his Trump endorsement.

In his speech to the Fayette GOP, Perdue played the video of Trump endorsing him for the crowd at the noon event.

Although he also talked about the “woke mob,” taxes, and giving parents more control over schools, it was false claims of election fraud that got people going. “The truth is going to come out sooner or later,” Perdue said.

After the event, we asked Perdue about the moment during the Trump rally after he called for jailing “the people responsible” for the 2020 election loss and then flashed a thumbs up to the crowd chanting “Lock him up!” about Kemp.

Perdue said he misunderstood what the crowd was saying. “I really thought they were saying, ‘Lock them up.’”

In response, Kemp’s spokesman Cody Hall said, “He’s tripping over himself to walk back yet another embarrassing gaffe. Perdue’s clown car campaign just went from sad to downright dangerous.”

Even though we found plenty of Trump supporters ready to vote for Perdue, we also talked to others anxious that the bitter primary will further divide the party and lose the governor’s mansion to Democrats in November.

“I’d vote for either of them that wins,” said one, “If they don’t kill each other first.”


The Washington Post and CBS News have revealed that internal White House records from Jan. 6 show a gap in Donald Trump’s phone logs of more than seven hours that day.

The gap begins at 11:17 a.m. and ends at 6:54 p.m.

But several calls logged right before the void caught our attention.

The first is an 11:04 a.m. call between Trump and former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who technically was no longer in office because his term ended Jan. 3, two days before the Jan. 5 runoffs.

The second call– the last on record before the gap – is an 11:17 a.m. call with an “unidentified person” linked through other records as a 3-minute call with then-US. Sen. Kelly Loeffler.

The calls took place the morning after the Georgia runoffs, which ended in a pair of victories from Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. A Perdue aide said the call involved the election results. Loeffler’s camp has so far declined comment.


UNDER THE GOLD DOME. Wednesday, March 30:

  • 8:00 a.m.: Committee work begins,
  • 10:00 a.m.: The Senate convenes;
  • 11:00 a.m.: The House gavels in.


In case you missed it Tuesday:

  • The House passed SB 345, a ban on “vaccine passports” that would prevent any state or local agency, government or school from requiring anyone to get a COVID-19 vaccination;
  • Gov. Brian Kemp signed the “Unmask Georgia Students Act,” which lets parents opt-out of mask requirements for their children in schools;
  • Our Mark Niesse reports the Senate Ethics Committee gutted the House-passed HB 1464 elections bill, which quickly shrank from 39 pages to two after multiple county elections officials told the committee the limits on outside donations, strict ballot handling rules, and new GBI authorities were wasteful, duplicative, and “security theater.”
  • Senate Ethics also passed a measure to put a pay raise for lawmakers on the November ballot and then have it pegged to 50% of the state’s median income after that.


The pro-Democratic Senate Majority PAC has now reserved more than $24.4 million worth of airtime through the final stretch of the November election to help U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, according to media buyers.


A bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams that is intended to increase access to affordable child care is scheduled for a vote on the House floor today.

This legislation would require recipients of certain federal economic development grants to outline how they will increase access to care-based services, including child care. A similar bill passed during the last Congress but stalled in the Senate.

Williams co-sponsored her bill with Alaska Republican Don Young, who died on March 18 and was honored at the Capitol on Tuesday.

The legislation is on the calendar of bills scheduled for consideration under “suspension of the rules,” a fast-tracking option for non-controversial measures. There is still a chance Republicans will mark the bill for a roll-call vote, which could delay action.


We are also hearing that the bill capping insulin costs at $35 a month could be brought to the House floor this week.

The House legislation is sponsored by Georgia U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, and it mirrors the Senate bill championed by U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock.


Several Georgia lawmakers were in attendance at the White House as President Joe Biden signed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act into law on Tuesday.

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock joined the president on stage for the signing. In the audience were Georgia U.S. Reps. Hank Johnson, Sanford Bishop, Lucy McBath and Nikema Williams.

The law makes lynchings, or killings motivated by race, a federal crime that is punishable by up to 30 years in law. The death of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick has been held up as an example of a case where his murderers could have faced additional charges and penalties if the lynching laws had been on the books when they faced trial.


In endorsement news:

  • Stacey Abrams endorsed more than a dozen candidates for local, state and federal office, including U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, state Rep. Nan Orrock, and others. She did not make an endorsement in the McBath-Bourdeaux primary faceoff in the 7th Congressional District.
  • U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls of Texas is backing Rich McCormick in the 6th District GOP primary;
  • The Republican Jewish Coalition PAC endorsed Jennifer Strahan over U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for the May primary in the 14th District. The Jewish Insider reports Matt Brooks, the head of the RJC, called Strahan “a true conservative who doesn’t traffic in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, doesn’t speak to white nationalist organizations and doesn’t applaud and cheer on Russian President Vladimir Putin.”


He was in, then he was out. Derek Bowens was named the sole finalist to become the new director of Fulton County’s elections board on Monday. On Tuesday, he withdrew his name from consideration.

Bowens currently serves as head of elections for Durham County, North Carolina, which has about a third of the population of Fulton, reports the AJC’s Ben Brasch. Bowens told Brasch he had family obligations that made him reconsider the move.

Current Fulton election director Richard Barron, who weathered national scrutiny in the job, will leave on Friday. Nadine Williams will take over as interim director until a permanent leader is found.


Georgia native and Riverwood High School alum Kate Bedingfield, the White House communications director, conducted her first daily press briefing after Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre both tested positive for the coronavirus.

Bedingfield didn’t have any obvious stumbles or gaffes as she responded to reporters’ questions for 41 minutes. She started off by joking about the trait she shares with Psaki, who usually handles these duties.

“I know I am not the red-head you are accustomed to seeing at this podium, but I hope you will hang with me nonetheless, so thank you,” she said.


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