The Jolt: See Sonny Perdue’s resume for his new $524,000 job as chancellor

News and analysis from the politics team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
November 5, 2018 Atlanta - Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp share a smile ahead of Putting Georgians First Fly Around a day before the election day at Peachtree DeKalb Airport on Monday, November 5, 2018. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM



November 5, 2018 Atlanta - Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp share a smile ahead of Putting Georgians First Fly Around a day before the election day at Peachtree DeKalb Airport on Monday, November 5, 2018. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Sonny Perdue officially takes over as the Chancellor of the University System of Georgia today, starting the $524,000-per-year job after a contentious, year-long effort by Gov. Brian Kemp to position him to get it.

Perdue has been mostly mum about what he plans to do in the powerful post overseeing the state of Georgia’s colleges and universities, or even why he sought it at all.

We found part of the answer yesterday when Perdue’s job application and resume for the job were posted publicly, the results of an open records request from self-described “citizen journalist” Brian Bannon and first spotted by Abraham Kenmore of the Augusta Chronicle.

In Perdue’s cover letter to become the chancellor, he wrote that applying for the role was not his idea in the first place.

“While I am keenly interested in serving as your next Chancellor, I cannot say that I pursued or ‘wanted’ this job,” he wrote to the members of the State Board of Regents. “When I was initially approached to measure my interest, I simply said that I wanted the University System of Georgia to secure the best Chancellor available.”

After summarizing his experience with the System during his two terms as governor and with the Hope Scholarship as a state lawmaker, Perdue writes that he simply wants the best chancellor possible for the system. If that’s him, “I commit with all my being to never cause you to regret that decision.”

Perdue’s resume offers other insights into his background, including his two years as a practicing veterinarian, and into how he frames his own experience in government and politics.

Under “public service,” he notes that he “defeated the incumbent, despite being outspent $20 million to $3 million.”

Also under public service, he includes the fact that he “led the Georgia Republican Party out of decades in the minority,” and says his term as chair of the Republican Governors’ Association from 2006 to 2007 “led to the election of now 33 Republican governors.”

Republicans held 22 governors’ offices after the 2006 elections and 21 governors’ mansions after the 2008 elections.

Perdue takes over at the top of the university system just as schools at every level have become a flashpoint for hot-button political debates from transgender sports to curriculum content to discussions of race and so-called “divisive topics.”

It’s now his job to navigate those choppy waters for students, faculty and other stakeholders in a way that makes Georgia’s higher education system stronger in the end.


UNDER THE GOLD DOME, Friday, April 1:

  • 8:30 a.m.: Committee work begins. House Rules meets at 9:00, Senate Rules meets at 12:00 p.m.;
  • 10:00 am: The House convenes;
  • 10:00 a.m.: The Senate gavels in.


It’s Day 39 at the Georgia General Assembly, The last days of the 40-day session always provide a crush of bills you didn’t expect to pass make it across the finish line, while once sure-fire measures hit the skids.

Already the state Senate has backed off of a proposal to severely curtail the tax credits enjoyed by the film and TV industry. The AJC’s James Salzer writes that the tax credit language was removed from a bill that otherwise focused on cutting income taxes. The revised legislation was approved by the Senate Rules Committee on Thursday.

We’ll have a full rundown of what’s passed and what’s left in the Jolt on Monday.


In the meantime, we break down all the latest from the Legislature on this week’s Politically Georgia podcast, with the best Capitol reporters in the state, namely the AJC’s Mark Niesse and Maya Prabhu. We also get the view from the campaign trail with David Perdue this week.

Listen and subscribe to the podcast for free at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or Stitcher.

You can even tell your smart speaker to “play Politically Georgia podcast.”


We’ve uncovered audio of Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker’s speech to a private closed-door fundraiser in Texas earlier this month where he makes broad statements about climate change.

“We have some of the cleanest climate in the world, we have some of the cleanest air and water in the world, and we’re talking about climate change?” Walker said.

He’s echoing a line pushed by former President Donald Trump, his political patron, that the U.S. need not worry about pollution. CNN recently fact-checked Trump’s remark:

However, despite Trump’s claim, the 20th annual State of the Air report, supported by the American Lung Association, found that pollution in the US has gotten measurably worse over the last three years.


The House Republican Caucus Trust held a fundraiser Thursday at the Piedmont Driving Club featuring former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. We’re told Gov. Brian Kemp also attended the event, which drew a large crowd.


Georgia Republicans pulled a publicity stunt to mark the one-year anniversary of Major League Baseball’s decision to yank the All-Star game from Atlanta.

Several GOP officials delivered an invoice for Stacey Abrams to the headquarters of the Democratic Party of Georgia for “revenue lost” as a result of the league’s decision.

“Georgians will also accept an apology in lieu of payment,” it added.

Major League Baseball yanked the game in April in protest of a new Georgia election law that imposes restrictions on voting.

Though many state Democrats assailed the decision, it became a rallying cry for Republicans, who said fearmongering from critics of the law deprived metro Atlanta of a premier event.


The U.S. House on Thursday signed off on a bill capping insulin costs at $35 a month for patients with private insurance.

The legislation championed by Georgia U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath passed with 12 Republicans joining Democrats in the majority. Georgia’s delegation split strictly along party lines with all six Democrats in favor and all eight Republicans opposed.

The bill now heads to the Senate where members are working to reach an agreement on language that can garner bipartisan support and avoid a filibuster.

Keep an eye on this bill for its potential to generate positive publicity for Democrats.

The Daily Mail of London, which typically covers scandals, Royals, and other high-traffic topics, wrote about it under the headline, “House Democrats unite to pass $35-a-month cap on insulin as vote puts pressure on Republicans senators to approve bill ahead of midterms.”


The U.S. Senate has now confirmed a second federal judge to serve in the Atlanta-based district court.

Sarah Geraghty previously worked as a civil rights attorney with the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta. Now, she will join the bench in the U.S. District Court for Northern Georgia.

Two Republicans, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine, joined Democrats in voting to confirm her on Thursday.

Earlier this month, the Senate also confirmed federal public defender Victoria Calvert for a similar position.


In endorsement news:

  • The Collective PAC, a national group focused on supporting Black candidates for office, endorsed Michael Owens for Georgia Secretary of State. The group is also backing Christian Wise Smith in his race for Georgia Attorney General.


A super PAC focused on helping Democrats retain control of the U.S. House has reserved $2.6 million of ad space in three media markets to boost Rep. Sanford Bishop’s re-election campaign, the New York Times reports.

The buy is part of House Majority PAC $102 million ad campaign in 51 media markets ahead of this November’s midterm elections.

Bishop, D-Albany, is Georgia’s only frontline Democrat, meaning he is running in a competitive district and will receive extra help from the party.

He already has several GOP challengers in his district, which was redrawn by the Republicans last year to be more conservative.


Since it’s Friday, we always like to send you into the week with a little light reading, including:


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

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