Gov. Brian Kemp attacked former U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s corporate record Tuesday in the first ad of what promises to be a bruising campaign for next year’s Republican gubernatorial nomination.
Perdue was the CEO of several companies before being elected to the Senate in 2014, including Reebok and PillowTex. The new ad accuses him of outsourcing American jobs to enrich himself.
“Millionaire David Perdue built a career putting himself first, searching for cheap labor,” the 30-second ad states. “Perdue outsourced jobs to countries like China. He made a fortune for himself but left communities broken, families ruined.”
The ad was paid for by the Georgians First Leadership Committee, a new type of fundraising organization that can raise and spend unlimited contributions.
A bill passed this year by the Republican-controlled General Assembly along party lines authorizes “leadership committees” to raise money on behalf of top statewide elected officials and heads of the legislature’ s majority and minority caucuses.
Challengers to statewide incumbents – including Perdue – can’t access those funds unless and until they win their party’s nomination.
Perdue entered the governor’s race last week, saying Kemp has lost the confidence of Georgia Republicans and cannot defeat 2018 Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams, who recently jumped into the contest as well.
The GOP primary race is all about last year’s presidential election in Georgia. Kemp angered Donald Trump after the November election when he refused to help the former president overturn Georgia results that favored Democrat Joe Biden.
Trump urged Perdue, a longtime ally, to challenge the governor in next May’s primary.
Perdue served one term in the Senate before losing to Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff in a runoff last January.
This story available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.