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Tag: david perdue

Tweaking Trump, Pence Will Campaign With Kemp In Georgia

In a scathing rebuke to his former partner at the White House, former Vice President Mike Pence has announced plans to campaign with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on the eve of Georgia’s May 24 Republican primary.

Pence will headline Kemp’s election eve rally in defiance of former President Trump, who has repeatedly assailed the state governor for refusing to partake in a collective Trumpworld effort to subvert and overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia.

Pence called Kemp “one of the most successful conservative governors in America” in a statement and on Twitter.

"Brian Kemp is my friend, a man dedicated to faith, family and the people of Georgia,” Pence stated. “I am proud to offer my full support for four more years of Brian Kemp as governor of the great state of Georgia.”

The endorsement, as US News put it, is the “ political equivalent of a raised middle finger” at Trump, who attacked the former VP repeatedly for certifying the results of the 2020 elections despite numerous calls from Trump and delusional far-right elements in his circle to overturn the elections.

"Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution," Trump said in a tweet on January 6, 2021, shortly after Pence refused to overturn the election results and right as a pro-Trump mob was breaching the sacred halls of Congress.

Two months later, in an exclusive interview, Trump defended the rioters who called for Pence’s hanging. “No, I thought he was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape … because, uh, I heard he was in very good shape,” he said.

In February, Pence refuted Trump, saying the former president was “wrong” in alleging that then-Vice President Pence had the sole power to overturn the 2020 election results.

A month after that, Pence came swinging again — this time, at Trump and the Russia-loving arm of the Republican party. “There is no room in this party for apologists for Putin,” Pence said at a Republican National Committee retreat.

Prominent Republicans have endorsed candidates who Trump opposes, but Pence, who might be the most prominent of the group, has shown his willingness to buck the former president and his political ambitions.

Still angered by the stinging loss to the then-Democrat candidate for president Joe Biden, Trump has doled endorsements to his loyalists and attacked those who refused to parrot the Big Lie.

Trump has campaigned, raised money, and ran TV attack ads for Kemp’s opponent, former Senator David Perdue, who has long since pledged allegiance to Trump and his false claims of widespread voter fraud.

However, Kemp remains the strong favorite in polls, leading Perdue by an average of 22.3 percentage points in the hotly-contested primary. Leading GOP members are confident Kemp will win 50 percent of the vote to bypass a run-off with Perdue, per Politico.

Despite commanding the increasingly vocal MAGA wing of the GOP, Trump has endorsed some candidates who eventually failed to win their primaries. Last week Charles Herbster, the GOP candidate Trump endorsed in Nebraska’s governorship race, lost to a candidate endorsed by the state’s governor.

Battlecry Of Republican Primary Rumbles: 'You're Soft On China!'

With most conservative candidates in primary races across the country pledging allegiance to former President Trump and disseminating his Big Lie, what is a Republican candidate to do to get ahead? Why, just accuse their Republican opponent of having ties to China, of course!

Spurious, misleading, and even exaggerated accusations of connections with China are a source of anxiety for Republicans in the 2022 races, while campaign strategists and candidates have labeled such allegations a “prime attack in a Republican primary,” according to the Washington Post.

Incumbent Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp — who is running against four other candidates in the Peach State primary, chief among them former Senator David Perdue — ran a TV spot accusing hisTrump-backed rival Perdue of outsourcing jobs to China before becoming a senator.

"Millionaire David Perdue got rich sending jobs to China," the narrator in Kemp’s ad claimed. The ad used a clip of Perdue in his days before the Senate, when he said, "I lived over there. I’ve been dealing with China for over 30 years," and another clip from a Georgia Public Broadcasting interview where Perdue claimed, “We outsourced every single product that we sold in our stores."

Kemp’s communications director touted the effectiveness of the China ad in a statement to the Post. “We tested a number of hits, and that was the best-polling one — the outsourcing to China.” Tying Perdue to China has become central to the incumbent governor’s paid advertising and messaging.

Invoking China is a crucial strategy in the Pennsylvania primary, too. Candidate Mehmet Oz, whom Trump is backing, has accused opponent David McCormick of carrying out business deals with China. McCormick struck back, as one would expect, alleging that Oz made bank from dealings with Chinese state TV and patronized products made in China.

In a blistering attack last Friday night, Trump accused McCormick of being a “liberal Wall Street Republican” who has managed money for China. “I don’t know David well, and he may be a nice guy, but he’s not MAGA,” the former president added.

A pollster who has worked for Trump and is polling in many 2022 primaries told the Post that tough talk on US-China relations, even far-fetched claims, is all the rage in this year’s Republican primary debates because that’s what Republican voters want to hear.

“If you coddle China, or you are soft on China, that makes you not so much America first and not so tough,” pollster Tony Fabrizio said. “Being tagged as soft on China is not a good thing. Trump focused and catalyzed some of it. But China has been seen as the primary world foe for at least the last decade or more.”

Fabrizio also spoke of a poll he conducted earlier this year which showed that Republicans consider China a bigger threat to national security than Russia, even after Russia’s missile bombardment of Ukraine has claimed thousands of civilian lives.

Two years of battling the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with Trump’s litany of anti-China messaging, has increased the Republican voters' negative perception of China. In March, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs conducted a poll that found that 75 percent of Republicans considered Beijing’s development a “critical threat” to the interests of the United States of America, up from 67 percent in 2020 and 42 percent in 2018, according to the Washington Post.

Last year, Trump’s team ran a poll to ascertain the former president’s most effective messages and found that the former president’s supporters love his attacks on China.

An informal adviser for Trump, Michael Pillsbury, weighed in on this seismic perception shift. “It is something quite new — Republicans used to be the business of party and free trade,” Pillsbury told the Washington Post. “And I remember during the early considerations of President Trump — putting heavy tariffs on China — there were voices within the White House and within the party that this goes against Republican traditions.”

“The current mood toward China,” Pillsbury added, “is darker than it has been in decades in the United States.”

Meadows Text Messages Reveal Details Of Trump's Georgia Scheming

Text messages obtained from Mark Meadows, a former White House chief of staff, are once again shedding light on the Trump campaign’s efforts to overturn the 2020 elections.

This time the spotlight is on Georgia, where former President Donald Trump tried to subvert the election by pressuring the secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, in a now-infamous phone call, to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s eventual victory after the former president’s narrow three-day lead.

On January 2, 2021, three days after calling for Georgia governor Brian Kemp’s resignation, Trump hopped on an hour-long call with Raffensperger and claimed — falsely, of course — that it was “pretty clear” he had “won” Georgia, weeks after the state’s top officials defied death threats to officially certify Biden as the winner of the state’s electoral votes.

As Trump urged Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have [to get],” Jordan Fuchs, Georgia's deputy secretary of state, pleaded with Meadows to end the call.

"Need to end this call," Fuchs told Meadows. "I don't think this will be productive much longer." Fuchs later added, “Let’s save the relationship,” according to a new CNN report.

The correspondence is part of a large trove of text messages from Meadow’s phone submitted by the House Select Committee in a recent court filing.

The hour-long call is at the heart of a Georgian investigation into whether Trump and his allies’ actions to overturn the state’s election results were criminal, and state prosecutors have convened a special grand jury to hear evidence and, if needed, subpoena witnesses and documents to bolster the state’s investigation.

Perdue 'Doing What You And President Want'

David Perdue, who lost his Senate seat to Democrat Jon Ossoff in a January 5, 2021, runoff election, reentered the political landscape last year to challenge Kemp in the governor’s race at a time Trump was on the lookout for a challenger to primary the incumbent governor.

Perdue won Trump’s coveted endorsement and has since embraced and parroted the former president’s baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 elections, even though multiple recounts confirmed his and Trump’s loss in the state.

CNN has released a fresh round of text messages that show Perdue, who was preparing for the Georgia Senate runoff, also partook in Trumpworld’s 2020 pressure campaign in Georgia.

“Carr,” Perdue wrote — referring to Georgia’s Attorney General, Chris Carr — “won’t be of any help with SOS.” Meadows received this text message on December 13, 2020. "I have a call into the Governor's general counsel now to see if they might help," Perdue added.

The text came days after Trump warned Carr not to rally GOP officials against a lawsuit that Texas filed with the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out millions of votes in Georgia and three other battleground states.

However, Carr, in brave defiance of Trump, assailed the lawsuit, calling it “constitutionally legally, and factually wrong,” and urged the justices to reject it.

Afterward, in a December 29 message, Perdue texted Meadows of his effort to arrange a meeting between Rudy Giuliani — the disgraced former Trump lawyer — and top Republican members of the Georgia state senate. "I'm trying to set up this call with state legislature leaders and Rudy," Perdue said. "I just want to make sure I'm doing what you and the president want."

“Great,” Meadows replied.

The next day, Giuliani appeared before the Georgia State Senate subcommittee to peddle lies and outlandish claims of election fraud.

Fani Willis, District Attorney of Fulton County, has been investigating Trump’s calls with Raffensperger and an official in his office; Guiliani’s falsehood-ridden presentation to Georgia lawmakers; Senator Lindsey Graham’s pressure phone call to Raffensperger; and the sudden resignation of Byung Pak, a former US attorney in Atlanta.

Investigators in Georgia have deposed 50 witnesses and plan to subpoena 30 others, according to CNN, an investigative process the special grand jury is expected to strengthen. "I imagine that we're going to be issuing subpoenas to a lot of people, and that all of them are not going to welcome our invitation to come speak with us," Willis told CNN.

Requests for comments sent to Fuchs, Perdue’s campaign, and Meadows went unanswered. Giuliani’s attorney didn’t comment on the text messages but said his client hadn’t been contacted by Georgian authorities.

Trump Under Pressure To Spend PAC Money On His Midterm Picks

By Jarrett Renshaw and Alexandra Ulmer

(Reuters) - Former President Donald Trump is weighing how much to spend and how many Republican candidates to fund in this year's elections as he faces pressure to use his war chest to help Republicans gain control of Congress, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Trump's Save America leadership political action committee has become a fundraising juggernaut since its inception in November 2020, amassing some $112.5 million in cash but spending only around $17 million to help pay for rallies and promote Republicans, according to the latest federal filings.

Save America's limited spending has raised questions among campaign finance experts and political observers, who say it might signal that he is reserving cash for a presidential run in 2024.

Senior advisers are now putting together proposals to support candidates running for state and congressional office in November's general election, the two sources familiar with discussions between Trump and his aides told Reuters on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity around the issue.

Trump is expected to make a decision by mid-May.

The expected timing of the midterm spending plan and some of the details under consideration have not been previously reported.

The proposals include spending estimates and providing candidates with support staff to help with communications and strategy, the sources said. Neither of the sources had details on the amount of money under consideration.

Advisers are debating whether to target a small number of races where money and staff can help tip the scales to victory or spread the funds over more races, the sources told Reuters.

One thing is certain: Trump will make the final decisions and will surely spend money to defeat Republicans like Liz Cheney who voted to impeach him following the January 6, 2020 assault by his supporters on the U.S. Capitol, the sources said.

The sources acknowledged that Trump is under pressure to put more money and resources behind candidates he has endorsed amid reports of Republican frustration with the lack of action.

They noted that Trump has allowed candidates to host fundraisers at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and that his endorsement boosts local fundraising and candidates' profiles.

Finalizing Plan

Trump is expected to finalize a spending plan following key Republican nominating contests in early and mid-May for Senate candidates in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where he has made the risky move of backing candidates who are not clear favorites to win the nominations.

"I think they're under increasing pressure to spend the money. If Trump wants to get credit for taking the House and Senate back, he's going to have to put his resources to use. And if he doesn't, he will be blamed for us not taking more seats," said Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor.

Republicans are widely seen as the favorites to win control of the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate too amid deep dissatisfaction among Americans over Biden's handling of rising inflation.

Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich said he does not comment on campaign spending and strategy.

Trump's Save America group has become one of the top Republican fundraising organizations ahead of the Nov. 8 elections, but so far it has been stingy with its spending compared to other groups, according to a Reuters analysis of financial disclosures made to the Federal Election Commission.

Trump has so far endorsed more than 100 candidates in congressional and state races. Some of the endorsements have been driven by Trump's desire to exact revenge on incumbent Republicans who crossed him.

One of the earliest tests of that strategy will be in Georgia, where Trump has backed former U.S. Senator David Perdue in the May 24 Republican gubernatorial primary. Perdue, who is lagging in the polls, will face Governor Brian Kemp, who infuriated Trump by certifying the 2020 election results that showed President Joe Biden defeated him in the state.

Save America disbursed $500,000 to a PAC supporting Perdue in March, its first major spending on a 2022 candidate, the most recent filings showed.

(Reporting By Jarrett Renshaw and Alexandra Ulmer, editing by Ross Colvin and Cynthia Osterman)

GOP Rival Accuses Gov. Kemp Of ‘Hiding' 2020 Vote Fraud

In a March 12 radio interview, former senator David Perdue, who is challenging incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp in Georgia's Republican gubernatorial primary, suggested that his opponent had orchestrated a "cover-up" of election fraud in the state after former President Donald Trump's 2020 loss.

"You know, I don't have the evidence to prove this, but it smacks of a cover-up this past year," Perdue told WMLB host Beth Beskin in the interview. "The governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and secretary of state, all four have closed ranks around the fact that they're claiming that we had a clean election."

Perdue first hinted that he thought Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger were involved in an election-related conspiracy in January, saying in another radio interview that the two Republicans were "sitting on" proof of voter fraud in Georgia's 2020 election.

Perdue, who received Trump's endorsement the day he announced his campaign, has previously attacked Kemp on local radio, blaming his opponent for Trump's loss in the state. But his latest comments, which accuse not only Raffensperger and Kemp, but state Attorney General Chris Carr and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan of systemically concealing evidence of voter fraud, are the most inflammatory he has made so far about the 2020 election.

The four elected officials Perdue accused in the interview are all Republicans, and all resisted, to varying degrees, Trump's false claim that the election was somehow stolen from him.

On Jan. 2, 2021, Trump called Raffensperger and told him to "find 11,780 votes" to overcome President Joe Biden's margin of victory in the state. The Georgia elections official refused to comply with Trump's request. In his book published last November, Raffensberger wrote that he felt the phone call from the former president — which is now the subject of a criminal investigation — "was a threat." Trump responded by backing Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) in a well-funded primary challenge to Raffensberger.

Both Perdue and Hice have promoted the fiction that Trump lost the 2020 election because of systemic voter fraud. Perdue, for his part, decided to run for the seat only after the former president spent months actively recruiting him to run against Kemp, who refused to overturn the 2020 election for Trump.

In December 2020, Trump called and reportedly "chewed out" Kemp while pressuring him to get Georgia's state legislature to overturn the election results. "Your governor could stop it very easily if he knew what the hell he was doing," Trump later told his supporters at a rally in Valdosta, Georgia. "So far we haven't been able to find the people in Georgia willing to do the right thing."

Kemp has since weathered a barrage of scathing attacks from the former president, who is still viewed favorably by many Georgia Republicans.

One of the clearest examples of the influence Trump still holds over state Republicans came at last year's party convention when the governor was booed during his speech, sometimes loudly enough to nearly drown out his voice, and heckled over his certification of Biden's 2020 victory.

Despite Trump's attempts to unseat Kemp, Kemp has not publicly rejected the former president's election conspiracies theories and offered him praise earlier this year.

Last year, Kemp signed S.B. 202, a restrictive election law that restricted absentee voting and added new voter identification requirements. Biden called the legislation "Jim Crow in the 21st century."

After signing the bill, which Kemp reportedly saw as a way to restore his damaged standing among Trump supporters, the governor gestured in the direction of election-related conspiracies, saying in a statement that "President Biden, the left, and the national media are determined to destroy the sanctity and security of the ballot box."

Even with Trump's endorsement, Perdue trails Kemp by a relatively large margin. In the most recently conducted poll of Republican primary voters, 39% said they would vote for Perdue, while 50% said they would vote for Kemp.

Perdue's fundraising has also lagged his opponent's despite an extensive donor network which allowed him to raise impressive sums during his two campaigns for U.S. Senate.

The Georgia primary is an important test of Trump's influence over the Republican Party. The Republican former president hosted a fundraiser for Perdue on Wednesday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. A photo opportunity with the two Republicans reportedly cost attendees $24,200.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Trump Ally Perdue To Challenge Georgia GOP Governor Kemp In Primary

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. Senator David Perdue plans to challenge Georgia Governor Brian Kemp in next year's election, U.S. media reported on Sunday, opening a new Republican Party rift in a battleground state that handed Democrats their current U.S. Senate majority.

Perdue intends to make his announcement in a video on Monday and file his campaign paper work at the same time, Politico and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, citing unnamed sources briefed on his plans.

Neither Perdue nor the Georgia Republican Party were immediately available to comment.

The reports said Perdue, a wealthy businessman, was recruited to run for governor by former President Donald Trump, after Kemp refused to help block November 2020 election results in the state that contributed to Democrat Joe Biden winning the presidency.

Voting rights activist Stacey Abrams announced on Wednesday that she would run for the Democratic Party's gubernatorial nomination in Georgia, her second bid for the office.

Trump's false claims about widespread election fraud have been blamed for dividing Georgia Republicans ahead of a pair of U.S. Senate run-off elections last January, in which Perdue was defeated by Democratic Senator Jon Ossoff. Former Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler also lost to Democrat Raphael Warnock in the run-offs.

Responding to the Sunday media reports, a Kemp campaign spokesman blasted Perdue as "the man who lost Republicans the United States Senate."

"Governor Kemp has a proven track record of fighting the radical left to put hardworking Georgians first," Kemp spokesman Cody Hall said in a statement.

(Reporting by David Morgan and Susan Heavey; editing by Mary Milliken and Grant McCool)

With Ossoff Near Victory In Georgia, Democrats Closing On Control Of Senate

With only one percent of votes still outstanding, Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff held a lead of about 16,000 votes over incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue in yesterday's Georgia Senate runoff. The historic surge of Black voters that ensured victory for Rev. Raphael Warnock -- the Democrat who won the other Georgia Senate seat from appointed Sen. Kelly Loefller in the same election -- seemed likely to boost Ossoff, since remaining votes are from Democratic precincts, according to most analysts.

Victories by both Democrats will assure their party's control of the upper chamber in Congress as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take over the White House. Although the Senate would be tied at 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, Harris would be empowered as vice president to cast tie-breaking votes that assured her party's control.

At 33, Ossoff would be the youngest member of the Senate elected in decades and the first Jewish senator from his home state.

Both Georgia Democrats had lagged in the late evening count, but pulled ahead as votes from heavily Democratic DeKalb County came in early this morning. Neither Loeffler nor Perdue have conceded with both insisting that they will ultimately prevail.

Ossoff's campaign manager Ellen Foster issued a statement that stopped just short of claiming victory.

"When all the votes are counted we fully expect that Jon Ossoff will have won this election to represent Georgia in the United States Senate," said Foster. "The outstanding vote is squarely in parts of the state where Jon's performance has been dominant."

Nevertheless, Perdue's campaign issued its own statement: "This is an exceptionally close election that will require time and transparency to be certain the results are fair and accurate and the voices of Georgians are heard. We will mobilize every available resource and exhaust every legal recourse to ensure all legally cast ballots are properly counted. We believe in the end, Senator Perdue will be victorious."

Still Furious Over Georgia, Trump Isn’t Helping Perdue And Loeffler

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The White House's post-Trump era will begin only a month from Sunday when Joe Biden is sworn in as president of the United States. One of President Donald Trump's activities during his final weeks in office will be campaigning for two GOP senators in runoff elections in Georgia, but according to New York Times reporters Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman, Trump isn't overly enthusiastic about that task — and is only using the runoffs to promote his own fundraising.

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