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Greg Bluestein

Behind film mogul Tyler Perry’s surprising donation to Nathan Deal

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Filmmaker Tyler Perry has given generously to Democratic causes - and Gov. Nathan Deal.

Filmmaker Tyler Perry has given generously to Democratic causes – and Gov. Nathan Deal.

Tyler Perry has hosted two fundraisers for President Barack Obama that have raised more than $500,000 for his re-election campaign. He’s given generously to Democratic causes. And he’s pumped more than $5,000 into Michelle Nunn’s campaign for Senate.

Which helps explain the Democratic hand-wringing upon the discovery that the film mogul and his company gave Republican Gov. Nathan Deal’s campaign $12,600 for his bid for another term.

Perry is also a donor to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, a Deal ally who recently helped cement the deal to sell about two-thirds of sprawling Fort McPherson to the filmmaker for a future studio.

State Sen. Vincent Fort, who has criticized the deal for lacking transparency, said he’s “concerned that there’s a perception that the Fort McPherson deal was influenced by politics.

Perry’s representative declined to comment on his support for the governor in an email to our colleague Steve Visser. But Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said any attempt to link a deal worth more than $30 million to a campaign donation hardly topping $10,000 is “ridiculous.”

Robinson said Reed approached the governor’s office about Perry’s interest in the property and Deal’s aides stepped aside to let city officials explore the opportunities. The sale was approved last week by a civilian redevelopment agency, but the Pentagon has the final say on the transaction.

“We’ve looked for uses for this property for years. It’s irrelevant that Tyler Perry contributed to the campaign,” said Robinson. “We prioritize private sector job creation and we’ve particularly courted the film industry. It’s at the heart of the governor’s strong relationship with the mayor.”

He did, however, spin out another political benefit to the donation.

“It shows we are reaching out to people who traditionally give to Democrats.”

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