The Jolt: Where in the world is David Perdue?

News and analysis from the politics team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

We looked high and low for David Perdue near the end of his last campaign, when the then-senator loaded his schedule with a statewide bus tour and dozens of meet-and-greets, but he was almost impossible to access for most reporters.

Now we’re asking about Perdue’s whereabouts for a very different reason. With just a week until the May 24 primary, Perdue is largely staying out of sight in the final stretch of his longshot bid to force Gov. Brian Kemp into a runoff.

The former U.S. senator had only one public event over the weekend, while Kemp ground out a five-stop tour with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.

And while Kemp plans a swing through north Georgia today with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Perdue has a more limited schedule.

His campaign listed just three public events for the rest of the week, all evening gatherings with local GOPs, though his spokeswoman said he plans to add additional stops.

Perdue’s commercials are absent from the airwaves, too, with no significant ad buys on TV or radio. Help from outside groups has all but dried up, too, in the final days of the campaign.

It’s a major change for Perdue this cycle, after launching his campaign with loads of events and campaign stops over the winter.

He and his team maintain their position that the surge in GOP ballots for early voting is a sign of a groundswell of support for his Stop-the-Steal message. Perdue is still attracting media attention, too, conducting seven interviews on Monday.

But U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, the West Point Republican, told WRBL’s Chuck Williams over the weekend that Perdue’s campaign is “on life support.”

Kemp, meanwhile, is well ahead in the polls and hitting the gas. He’s scheduled 16 separate campaign events over the next week, culminating in a Cobb County rally featuring former Vice President Mike Pence.


We could ask a similar question about U.S. Rep. Jody Hice’s whereabouts. Hice has scaled back his public events and hasn’t made a significant TV ad buy for months to boost his campaign to oust Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

The Republican is likely hoarding his cash for a June runoff against Raffensperger, and polls indicate both are hovering below the majority-vote mark needed to secure an outright win.

But if Raffensperger ekes by Hice on May 24 and notches the nomination, second-guessing the congressman’s approach will be easy to do.


Today is primary day in five states across the country, including plenty where Donald Trump has also weighed in on campaigns that may or may not make it across the finish line. Politico has the setup for “Midterm Super Tuesday.”


A GOP runoff seems likely in the 10th Congressional District, where an eight-candidate field is slicing up the conservative electorate east of Atlanta.

The million-dollar question there is who will finish in the top two.

An internal poll from the Mike Collins campaign shows Collins leading the field with about 30% of the vote. We’d expect a candidate’s own poll to show them in a good spot. But it’s the battle for the second slot in that caught our eyes.

Former Congressman Paul Broun, led that group with roughly 13%, followed by state Rep. Timothy Barr, Vernon Jones, and Alan Sims bunched together in the high single digits.

The sample size was 895 likely GOP voters. With 25% still undecided, the likely runoff looks up for grabs.


POSTED: Burt Jones, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, has been using his family’s private plane as he crisscrosses the state to attend campaign events.

But campaign finance documents the state senator filed recently don’t show any record of those flights or report the expenses.

When contacted by our AJC colleague Maya T. Prabhu, Jones’ spokesman said the campaign intends to pay one lump sum after the May 24 vote for the flights. That doesn’t appear to be allowed under the state’s campaign finance laws.

Along with use of the family plane, Jones has loaned his campaign $2 million of his personal wealth so far. His father is the founder of Jones Petroleum.


Another candidate benefiting from his father’s deep pockets is Jake Evans in the Sixth Congressional District.

Along with the $700,000 Evans that the younger Evans has loaned his own campaign, his father, Randy Evans, has pumped $475,000 into Trailblazer PAC attacking Dr. Rich McCormick, the ER doctor also running for the GOP nomination in the 6th District.


Speaking of state Sen. Burt Jones, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor is looking to avoid a June runoff by going for the jugular against his leading GOP rival Butch Miller.

Jones’ campaign aired a scathing attack ad this week that mocks Miller’s Gainesville-based car dealership, painting him as a shady, backslapping car salesman.

While polls show a significant number of undecided voters, Jones’ advisers believe he has a solid shot at notching an outright win – and they don’t want to leave anything on the table.


One more note on Burt Jones-- the Buckhead City Committee is holding a fundraiser for the LG hopeful this week, hosted by Bill White, the group’s controversial CEO.

White has spent his time over the last week lobbing lewd personal attacks on individual Republicans over social media, along with threats against staff of Jones’ rival GOP campaigns.

Reached for comment after White’s social media tear, the Jones campaign said the fundraiser will continue as scheduled.


Expect this dynamic to continue through the general election: Each time Gov. Brian Kemp brings a big GOP name to Georgia, state Democrats have used their appearance to reinforce core issues for Stacey Abrams’ campaign for governor.

Case in point: Democrats used word of events for Kemp by Chris Christie and Mike Pence to remind Georgians that both led states that have expanded Medicaid - a step Kemp was been unwilling to take.


Latham Saddler, the SEAL Team veteran and current U.S. Senate candidate has a new ad up in the Atlanta TV media market hitting Herschel Walker for refusing to participate in any debates ahead of the May 24 primary.

“If Herschel Walker won’t debate me, he will lose to Raphael Warnock.”

Saddler and all three of the other Republicans running are hoping to create enough doubt about Walker to keep the former footballer under 50% on Tuesday, although he’s consistently polled higher than that mark.


Kelly Loeffler, the other former Republican senator who lost election in the 2021 runoffs, has taken a decidedly different path than David Perdue post-runoff, plowing her personal wealth into GOP party-building efforts and conservative policy efforts.

Last week Loeffler announced a partnership with SBA List, the Washington based group that supports anti-abortion female candidates for office. The partnership includes a six-figure contribution from Loeffler to more than 20 Georgia organizations including pregnancy centers, faith-based organizations, and adoption and foster care efforts.


Today in Washington:

  • President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are headed to Buffalo to meet with families of the victims of the mass shooting there Saturday. The president will also deliver a speech calling out racist extremism.
  • Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece will address a joint meeting of Congress.
  • U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff is holding a press conference with Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio to promote legislation they are sponsoring to create a new home loan program for law enforcement officers, firefighters, first responders and teachers.


The nationwide infant formula shortage is another major headache for President Joe Biden – and bipartisan members of Congress are urging solutions.

U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock were among 31 Democratic lawmakers who signed a letter to the President of the Infant Nutrition Council of America infant formula manufacturers to increase production.

Republican U.S. Reps. Drew Ferguson, Andrew Clyde, Barry Loudermilk, Rick Allen, Austin Scott and Buddy Carter signed a different letter that demands answers from federal regulators about how they’re addressing the shortage.

The U.S. House is expected to pass a bill this week that would give the federal government emergency authority to relax regulations to help ease supply issues. And two House committee hearings on the shortage have been scheduled for later in the month.


You may have seen ads urging U.S. Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to oppose a bill that big tech companies say would harm users of Amazon Prime and Google maps.

But the bipartisan group of lawmakers behind the legislation say the goal is to rein in powerful companies like Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon by creating new antitrust measures.

For example, the House co-sponsors from Georgia include Democratic Reps. Lucy McBath and Hank Johnson, along with Republican Jody Hice.

S. 2992 is being vetted by committees now. But the tech companies have gone on the offensive with ads and a marketing campaign in hopes of pressuring enough lawmakers to kill the measure.


U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams has introduced a resolution that would express opposition to any laws that criminalize sexual or reproductive healthcare, including abortions, contraception and gender-affirming procedures.

Ten other Democratic women in the House are also original co-sponsors, and 151 women’s rights and healthcare organizations have endorsed the measure.

The legislation comes after a leaked U.S. Supreme Court opinion suggested the landmark Roe v. Wade case could be overturned.


The John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation will host its inaugural gala tonight in Washington.

Helene Gayle, the president-elect of Spelman College, will be among those in attendance. She spoke to the AJC about her friendship with Lillian Lewis and the nonprofit’s effort to ensure her legacy is honored alongside her husband’s.

The guest list also includes U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams.


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