With his challenge struggling, David Perdue gets help from Trump

David Perdue is calling in heavy-duty firepower to gain ground against Gov. Brian Kemp.

Former President Donald Trump will hold a March 16 fundraiser at Mar-A-Lago for the Republican challenger, who is trailing Kemp in both fundraising and in public polls.

Trump is also expected to headline at least one rally for Perdue and other Georgia candidates he’s endorsed ahead of the May 24 primary. And members of Trump’s family, including Don Jr., plan to crisscross the state on the former U.S. senator’s behalf.

Perdue’s insurgent challenge hinges on Trump’s support. He invokes the former president at the start of every campaign stop and echoes his falsehoods about widespread election fraud. Trump filmed a direct-to-camera TV spot for Perdue that’s now airing statewide.

Trump also has reason to step up his commitment. Perdue’s campaign serves as one of the marquee tests of his influence, and he has vowed to defeat Kemp after the governor refused his demands to overturn the 2020 election.

Trump’s show of support for Perdue comes amid a spate of setbacks in his bid to unseat the governor.

Several recent public polls show Perdue in a bind, including a Trafalgar Group survey released this week that pegged Kemp with a 49-40 edge over his challenger. The same poll showed that nearly 40% of GOP voters aren’t aware of Trump’s endorsement.

Kemp has built an enormous fundraising advantage over Perdue, who reported less than $900,000 in his campaign account earlier this month and has yet to pump his own money into his campaign. The governor, by contrast, had a warchest of nearly $13 million.

For the first time in its history, the Republican Governors Association has launched ads for an incumbent battling a GOP primary challenge, with a slate of TV spots this month that promote Kemp.

And Kemp is leveraging the raw powers of his office to counter Perdue, including moves this week to appoint a protégé of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to the state’s highest bench and clear the way for Sonny Perdue – David’s first-cousin – to lead the higher education system.

David Perdue and Brian Kemp

Credit: AJC

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Credit: AJC