Dec 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Perdue's campaign is rooted in falsehoods

David Perdue, Marty Kemp and Brian Kemp walking on tarmac in masks
David Perdue (left), alongside Marty and Brian Kemp, greeted President Trump in September 2020. Photo: Brendan Smialowski via Getty Images

Former Sen. David Perdue is running for Georgia's 2022 Republican gubernatorial nomination with a campaign — so far — rooted in a string of falsehoods.

Why it matters: As Axios's Jonathan Swan has pointed out, this follows a national trend of Trump-backed Republicans challenging those who didn't go along with overturning the 2020 election. Perdue says, "What I’m trying to do is pull our party back together."

  • There's been no evidence widespread fraud took place in Georgia's elections last year, and the November results were counted three times — once by hand.

Driving the news: Perdue is running against a former ally and fellow Republican, Gov. Brian Kemp.

The former senator told Axios on Wednesday that if he'd been governor in 2020, he wouldn't have certified the state's presidential election results "with the information that was available at the time."

  • Georgia law does not offer the governor or the secretary of state the ability to not certify an election.
  • Any challenge to an election's integrity must happen through the courts.
  • All legal challenges to the 2020 election in Georgia have failed.

Go deeper: Another of Perdue's central arguments is that Kemp "caved" to past — and current — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

He refers to a 2020 settlement agreement between several Democratic groups and the Georgia secretary of state regarding absentee ballot protocols.

  • Perdue told Axios the agreement "allowed direct contributions to go to election boards" and allowed mobile voting buses, both of which are not true. The settlement did not change any election laws.
  • Fulton County made its own decision to allow mobile voting during the pandemic. Some county elections offices relied on grants to help cover election-administration costs, unrelated to the agreement.
  • Perdue told Axios he would have "raised hell" about the agreement, which was signed by the state attorney general. Neither Abrams nor Kemp were party to it.

More details: In addition, Perdue said he would have called for a special legislative session to "investigate" claims of fraud last year.

  • Perdue said he asked Kemp to call a session in 2020, not to change the November outcome but to "protect and fix what was wrong for the January election."
  • Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr investigated and found no evidence of widespread fraud in 2020.

He said/he said: Kemp's campaign communications director Cody Hall fired back.

  • He said Perdue "never" asked for a special session. "In fact, his campaign — and Perdue himself — asked for there not to be a special session called."
  • "At the time, they knew that a special session could not overturn the 2020 general election, and that changes to election rules for an election already underway are not allowed under state law or court precedent," Hall added.

The bottom line: Perdue conceded his Senate race loss to Jon Ossoff in January.

  • “I’ve never asked for a reversal," he pointed out.
  • “What I’ve asked for is to get this cleaned up, to make sure that our elections going forward are fair and can rebuild the confidence of people.”
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