Posted: 9:28 am Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
By Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway
Two days before their first joint U.S. Senate appearance — none dare call it a debate — Democrat Michelle Nunn has raised the topic of Republican David Perdue’s tenure at Pillowtex.
The Nunn campaign has filled a one-minute TV spot with named former mill workers from Kannapolis, N.C., telling the story of David Perdue’s brief stint at the textile firm, which went bankrupt shortly after he left.
This Politifact examination from July, when U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston attacked Perdue on the topic, offers some excellent background on Pillowtex’s fortunes. Politifact rated the Kingston attack “mostly false” but the Nunn ad doesn’t reach as far in its claims.
The Nunn ad has much in common with the Priorities USA ads that hit Mitt Romney in 2012. From the Nunn transcript:
Delores Gambrell: He walked away, with his $1.7 million and didn’t care about if we had a dollar in our pockets.
Brenda Miller: When Pillowtex closed down, it was pretty much devastating. I don’t think David Perdue understands what happens to the people. They were running as fast as they could with as much money as they could get out of the company and just pretty much left us there hanging.
Delores Gambrell: David Perdue looks out for himself.
Cynthia Hanes: All we were was people to make money off our backs.
Phyllis Grimes: He left all of us sitting there holding the bag with nothing in it.
Note that the punch lines are delivered by women.
The two candidate’s Thursday forum in Macon, hosted by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, will be a heavily watched event – though the format has been designed to take off the confrontational edges. Chamber spokeswoman Joselyn Baker reports high interest among national media and says the 1,100 event has been sold out.
The moderator will be John Pruitt, the former Channel 2 Action News anchor. Candidates will be asked to speak on four general topics: Transportation, defense spending and the protection of Georgia military bases, health care and immigration.
It’s tempting to think that the new Nunn ad is evidence that she’ll hammer Perdue on his corporate dealings in Macon. On the other hand, this will be a business-oriented audience likely to harbor sympathies for CEOs, both current and former.
As might be expected, given that tough TV spot above, Democrat Michelle Nunn trails Republican David Perdue in an 11Alive poll conducted by Survey USA, 50 to 41 percent. Libertarian Amanda Swafford stands at 3 percent.
The poll is an automated mix of land, cell phone and Internet surveys. MOE of +/4.2 percent. From the Survey USA website:
Perdue’s lead comes entirely from men, where he leads by 19 points. Atlanta votes Democratic. Northwest GA votes 2:1 Republican. South and East GA votes 5:4 Republican.
In the race for governor, Republican incumbent Nathan Deal is at 48 percent to Democrat Jason Carter’s 39 percent. Libertarian Andrew Hunt is at 4 percent. Again, from the Survey USA website:
Moderates provide some but not presently enough support for Carter to catch Deal. Libertarian Hunt takes more votes from the Republican Deal than he does from the Democrat Carter.
Other top-of-the-ticket races are also covered by the poll, all showing Republicans in relatively comfortable positions.
One caveat on all these races: The SurveyUSA work presumes an African-American turnout of 26 percent. Which most strategists agree is low.
Oh, and one more thing: The SurveyUSA poll showed that 66 percent of Georgia voters agree with the decision to treat two Ebola patients at Emory University Hospital.
Add this to your list of things you shouldn’t do: A strange Tweet hailed this morning from the U.S. Senate campaign of David Perdue — an image of a Visa check-cashing card, issued in the name of the Perdue campaign, with numbers, expiration date, etc., all visible. In a profound case of understatement, Spokesman Derrick Dickey called the Tweet the result of a staff error. It has been deleted, and the card canceled.
A note of thanks from Gov. Nathan Deal landed in tens of thousands of email inboxes this week.
The lengthy letter, addressed to teachers headed back to school, thanked them for their “honorable and noble” career choice and also offered a lengthy exposition – Democrats would say stump speech, noting the ubiquitous mention of the CNBC business ranking and this year’s cash infusion into the K-12 system.
Here’s a little taste:
While I believe local school leaders should have the autonomy to spend funds within their district as they see fit in order to get the greatest outcomes for students, it is my sincere hope that this additional money will be spent on completely ending teacher furlough days and increasing teacher salaries. I am sure you would agree with me that the dedication, perseverance and talent of Georgia’s quality teachers deserve to be rewarded.
As we continue to improve our state’s economic outlook by investing in the priorities that further our education system, create jobs and maintain Georgia’s status as the No. 1 state in which to do business, we must also consider the future nature of classroom instruction and child development.
We heard from a few readers and Deal critics question the governor’s use of state email lists to promote his record. At least one compared it to the suddenly expanded reach of his office’s official newsletter, which recently added thousands of email subscribers.
Sasha Dlugolenski, Deal’s newly-minted chief spokeswoman, said the note was sent to all certified educators with emails they submitted to the state, and said it was “common practice” for state and national leaders to send back-to-school encouragement to teachers.
She noted that President Barack Obama, among other politicians, sent back-to-school video messages to teachers and students. That 2009 move enraged some conservatives who feared the president was trying to use the outreach to press his agenda.
All sides have now joined in the August ad war in the Augusta-based 12th Congressional District. Above is the entry from Republican businessman Rick Allen who takes aim at President Barack Obama without mentioning his opponent, Rep. John Barrow. Tops on Allen’s list of grievances: The Department of Veterans Affairs and the border kids.
Allen is also pictured in a gun store. Just not holding one.
Barrow has already launched his ads, as have the National Republican Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — which has a new spot going after Allen for his business career.
R.W. Allen Construction built various taxpayer funded buildings, some of which were paid for by special local option sales taxes and some of which were over budget. This means he’ll “fit right in” in Washington, the Washington-based DCCC says.
In addition, Center Forward, a group that aims to protect moderates in Congress, is on the air starting today but we have not seen the ad yet.
Speaking of Barrow, National Journal points out that he has voted against his party more times than any member running for re-election — 170 times in all since the beginning of this Congress.
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.