At a rally for Donald Trump on Friday, Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) mocked Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) for her name. By Sunday, Perdue's Democratic opponent had raised nearly $2 million off of the racist comments.
Perdue intentionally mispronounced Harris' name at the Trump rally in Macon, Georgia.
"The most insidious thing that Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden are trying to perpetuate, and Bernie [Sanders] and Elizabeth [Warren] and Kamala — Kah-ma-la, or Kah-mah-la, or Kamala-mala-mala, I don't know, whatever," he said, drawing laughter from the rally's attendees.
"Well that is incredibly racist," Sabrina Singh, Harris' press secretary, responded in a tweet.
On Friday evening, Jon Ossoff — Perdue's Democratic opponent — tweeted the video clip of Perdue mispronouncing Harris' name, adding, "We are so much better than this."
Perdue's viral moment backfired in a major way. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ossoff raised more than $1.8 million from 42,000 donors between Friday and Sunday.
Harris and Perdue have served in the Senate together for four years. Perdue has even cosponsored two of Harris' bills.
Rather than quickly apologize for the racist slur of Harris, Perdue's campaign pretended it was an inadvertent error. "Sen. Perdue simply mispronounced Sen. Harris' name. He didn't mean anything by it," Perdue's spokesperson, Casey Black, tweeted on Friday.
Perdue's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This isn't the first time Perdue has made a bigoted attack against a political opponent. In July, the Perdue campaign made a Facebook ad featuring a distorted photo of Ossoff, who is Jewish, with his nose enlarged — a common anti-Semitic trope.
The moment was reminiscent of another Senate race 14 years ago. Then, Sen. George Allen (R-VA) was recorded harassing a 20-year-old Democratic tracker named S.R Sidarth — a Virginia native whose parents immigrated from India.
"This fella here over here with the yellow shirt. Macaca or whatever his name is," Allen said, using a racist term comparing Sidarth to a monkey. "Let's give a welcome to Macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia."
Allen, who had been favored in the race, lost to Democrat Jim Webb after the story broke.
Ossoff is not alone among Democratic candidates in his massive 2020 fundraising advantage. Across the country, Democrats running for Senate have broken records and raised far more than Republicans in competitive races. In Maine and Iowa, Democratic challengers have outraised GOP incumbents by about a four-to-one margin over the past three months.
Polls show the race between Ossoff and Perdue to be close. RealClear Politics' average puts Perdue up by just one point, though two recent polls gave Ossoff the lead.
If no candidate receives an outright majority in November's election, the top two finishers will face off in a January runoff election.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.