Posted: 9:42 am Thursday, July 31st, 2014
By Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy
David Perdue had to run against Washington and its dreaded “career politicians” in order to capture his party’s U.S. Senate nomination.
But he needs them to win in the fall and become an effective senator, which is why he made the rounds Wednesday on Capitol Hill for a series of possibly awkward meetings, starting with the man he defeated in a rough nine-week runoff, Jack Kingston. The Perdue campaign passed along the accompanying photographic evidence of the meeting.
We’re unaware of any visuals from Perdue’s sit-down with Georgia Republican Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. In a primary season debate Perdue vowed not to vote for McConnell to remain as leader.
Chambliss said McConnell called Perdue the day after he won the runoff and they discussed Perdue’s pledge, and the issue arose again in person Wednesday. But they’re cool, Chambliss reports:
“They were very forthright and David made it very plain he’s going to support the Republican leadership and that’s not an issue and we’re moving on.”
So, we asked, did Perdue say he would vote for McConnell for leader?
“I don’t want to put words in his mouth … but he was very clear with the Leader that he’s going to be a team player.”
Now, one can still pledge to work with McConnell and vote against him. And if McConnell is re-elected there is no real challenge expected to his leadership perch. Still, the tone change is noteworthy.
Perdue also had lunch with the Senate GOP conference; met with “some of our supporters here in Washington, D.C., in the lobbying community,” as Isakson put it; raised money at the National Republican Senatorial Committee; and met with a handful of Georgia’s U.S. House Republicans in Rep. Tom Graves’ office. We spotted Kingston, Tom Price, Austin Scott and Phil Gingrey emerging from the meeting, along with almost-Congressman Jody Hice.
Most of the delegation backed Kingston in the runoff and there clearly are a few raw feelings about being depicted as babies and the like. But we’re told the zeal to beat Democrat Michelle Nunn and keep Georgia red far outweighs any ill will toward Perdue.
As he left the delegation meeting, Perdue told us he made the overtures for this trip:
“I reached out and asked for advice and help and just trying to pull all the delegation together and get us all on one page. … These are professionals. I have a lot of respect for ‘em. We ran against them hard and I ended up the nominee, so right now we’re in the fight.”
Perdue said he would be announcing soon which committees he would seek if elected. He hinted that Agriculture — which has not been without a Georgian for several decades — and Armed Services were in his sights because of their importance to the state economy.
You know who has a lot of say over committee assignments? Mitch McConnell.
Perdue also weighed in on the big political story of the week: The Michelle Nunn campaign internal memos.
“When I read it was fairly shocked. It gives you a keen insight into what the other side is thinking about the different groups in our state and, honestly, they put us as Republicans in certain boxes. And yet here we are with hard evidence that they are the ones who actually do some of that and not us.
“So it gives us an insight into how they’re going to raise money and what groups are important and what some of their positions are versus the reality of what their thinking is. And I think that’s the inconsistency that it exposes. I don’t know that it’s going to be an issue in the race. That’s for somebody else to decide.
“Our mission is very clear. We’re going to stay on our message that the current administration and the failed policies of the Obama administration are the core centerpiece of this race. The decision is very clear. If you like what’s going on in Washington, vote for Michelle Nunn. But I think most people in Georgia see the direction that we’re headed in is absolutely wrong.”
Notice how the general election message is closely linked to Perdue’s primary pitch on “if you like what’s going on in Washington…” It’s a harder case to make against another first-time candidate, but Obama will be the ever-present hammer.
So about those changing demographics: Sean Trende at RealClearPolitics took demographic data from Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, added population growth and kept racial voting patterns the same, and found that Georgia does indeed turn into a blue state — in 2048:
“[I]t is just to remind us that these predictions have been around for quite some time, and that they should always remain subservient to the utter unpredictability of politics.”
Jason Carter’s Hollywood doppelganger is Matt Damon?
That’s what the Democratic gubernatorial candidate said in this 2010 interview with AOL when asked who would play him in the movie of his life. Other tidbits from the interview:
He “totally” cries at weddings and the movie “Marley and Me,” used to dream about getting A’s in law school papers, has Googled an ex-girlfriend, rates himself a “five or a six” in a scale of 1-10 of attractiveness, is a stickler at the grocery store express lane and likes this song a lot.
Gov. Nathan Deal is softening his tone on young Central American migrants coming to Georgia, Channel 2 Action News reports. And here’s the take from our colleague, Jeremy Redmon.
A left-leaning group called People for the American Way is airing Spanish-language ads targeting GOP nominee David Perdue.
The ads, which began airing in Atlanta on Wednesday, accuses Perdue of “exploiting workers” in the private sector and abandoning immigration reform.
From the ad’s English translation:
The Republican David Perdue does not fight for workers and won’t fight for us!
That’s why we have to unite and defend our jobs, our community, and vote against David Perdue and the Republicans!
Another young woman has accused former gubernatorial candidate Ray McBerry of inappropriate behavior. More from Fox 5’s Randy Travis here.
The U.S. House passed a $16.3 billion reform of the Department of Veterans Affairs on Wednesday by a 420-5 vote. One of the 5: Jack Kingston.
He told us the spending should have been fully offset with cuts elsewhere and the bill should have cracked down harder on the agency administration: “Frankly, I’m not convinced there’s going to be a house-cleaning.”
Also Wednesday, the House approved a resolution allowing Speaker John Boehner to sue President Barack Obama. It was a party-line affair, as to be expected.
But before the vote, Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, sought input in an email to his constituents asking them to vote in a poll on whether the House should sue the president. It’s unclear what the results were, but Barrow voted “no” and said this in a press release:
“I think this lawsuit is a waste of time and money. I’m not shy about taking on this administration when it can do some good, but delaying these health care mandates is better than going forward with them. In fact, I’m trying to get rid of them altogether. The last thing we ought to be doing is suing to have them enforced. Surely, there are more productive things Congress should be doing in its final days than spending time and money grandstanding to enforce a bad policy.”
About the Authors
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He joined the newspaper in June 2012.
Daniel Malloy is the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington Correspondent, covering the Georgia Congressional delegation and other D.C. goings-on that affect the state since 2011. He's a zealous fan and proud graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.