Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., takes a selfie with President Donald Trump during the seventh inning of Game 5 of the baseball World Series between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
David Perdue launched his first TV ad for governor Tuesday with the same pro-Donald Trump message he’s promoted throughout his challenge to incumbent Brian Kemp. But this time the former president makes it for him.
Flanked by two American flags, Trump opens the ad for the former U.S. senator claiming that “Brian Kemp let us down” in the 2020 election before he mocks Democrat Stacey Abrams, who will face the winner of the GOP primary.
“David Perdue is an outstanding man. He’s tough. He’s smart,” Trump said in the 30-second ad, which is backed by at least $150,000 in spending. “He has my complete and total endorsement.”
Perdue doesn’t speak on camera, though he’s shown in pictures standing alongside Trump with both wearing matching suits. His famed jean jacket, featured so prominently in his two U.S. Senate runs, is nowhere to be seen.
It’s one of the first direct-to-camera appeals in a TV ad from Trump this election cycle. And it continues a theme for Perdue, who has centered his challenge against Kemp on both his loyalty to Trump and his embrace of the former president’s phony narrative of widespread election fraud.
Multiple recounts confirmed Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia, bipartisan officials rejected lies of a “rigged” election and judges have tossed pro-Trump lawsuits from court.
Trump has blamed Kemp for his defeat and vowed to exact revenge on the governor. Perdue said he would have backed Trump by refusing to certify the vote -- something that Kemp was bound by law to do -- and called a special legislative session that could have overturned the results.
The allegiance to Trump could come back to haunt Perdue in the general election if he wins the nomination. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released last week showed half of Georgia voters would be less likely to support a candidate backed by Trump in November.
Still, even as Trump’s popularity in Georgia wanes, the former president’s hold on conservative voters remains strong – and his lies about election fraud have taken root. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll showed three-quarters of GOP voters believe there was widespread fraud in 2020.
Perdue seems confident in his bet on Trump in the primary. The ad features a new slogan for his campaign that plays off the former president’s brand.
It calls Perdue an “America First conservative outsider.”