May 13, 2022 - Politics

Trail Notes: David Perdue's 2014 campaign vs. today's

Illustration of an elephant trunk and a donkey hoof reaching for a peach.
Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

​​In the waning days of the 2022 primary, former Sen. David Perdue says he’s not concerned that Gov. Brian Kemp has nearly 12 times more cash on hand and is polling far ahead.

  • Perdue has said this is “exactly like 2014,” when he first ran for Senate as an outsider against several GOP candidates.

What he’s saying: While visiting Paulding County this week, Perdue reflected that back then, “Everybody said, ‘Oh, he's going to lose, he’s going to lose, and I had one message that said, Look, I'm running against these career politicians: If they were going to make a difference, wouldn’t they have done it already?’”

Yes, but: Unlike 2014, Perdue is now a former U.S. senator. Plus, in 2014, he had the benefit of the network of operatives and strategists built by his cousin, former Gov. Sonny Perdue.

  • This time around, most of those alums are supporting Kemp.
  • And Sonny Perdue hasn’t joined his cousin on the campaign trail due to his new non-political job as chancellor of the University System of Georgia — a role that was pushed through by Kemp.

Another yes, but: Jay Walker, a veteran of Sonny Perdue's campaigns and David Perdue's 2014 team who is now a senior adviser to Kemp, also tells Axios that things are different this time around.

  • “David Perdue did not have a big deficit, and he was ahead in the polls at this point in the 2014 primary campaign," he said. "We knew he was going to be in the runoff. There was no question.”

Trail mix: In these final days, Kemp has pulled in support from "anti-Trump" Republicans around the country, including Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and even former President George W. Bush, who’s hosting a fundraiser for Kemp in Dallas on Monday.

  • When Trump lashed out at this news, calling the governors “RINOs,” Christie responded in kind: “Insightful commentary about three Republican governors who were overwhelmingly re-elected by their people from a former president who lost to Joe Biden. Maybe the ‘R’ in RINO really stands for re-elected.”

By the numbers: Early voting turnout continues to far outpace 2018 numbers. Per Georgia Votes, nearly 300,000 Georgians have cast ballots: 42% Democratic and 58% Republican.

Email Emma at [email protected] with what you think should be in next week’s Trail Notes.

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