Businessman David Perdue defeats longtime congressman in Ga. Senate runoff

BY Claire Simms, Georgia Public Broadcasting  July 23, 2014 at 11:03 AM EDT
Supporters of David Perdue celebrate his victory over Jack Kingston Tuesday night in Atlanta. Photo by Claire Simms, GPB News

Supporters of David Perdue celebrate his victory over Jack Kingston Tuesday night in Atlanta. Photo by Claire Simms, GPB News

ATLANTA — Self-proclaimed political outsider David Perdue may not be able to hold onto that title for very long. The businessman bested longtime U.S. Congressman Jack Kingston for a second time Tuesday night.

Perdue won the most votes in both the primary and the Republican runoff and will face Democrat Michelle Nunn in the General Election on Nov. 4.

“I didn’t even know how to spell politics a year ago,” Perdue laughed.

The road to Perdue’s runoff victory, however, was rocky. After losing in the primary, former Republican U.S. Senate hopefuls Karen Handel and Phil Gingrey threw their support behind Kingston.

And the attacks against Perdue came from almost every direction.

“I’m a little concerned our primaries have become a little out of control over allegations and things,” former Governor Sonny Perdue said Tuesday evening.

Governor Perdue is David Perdue’s cousin and attended the campaign’s victory party at a hotel in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta.

“We need to reevaluate as Republicans the things that we’re doing to one another,” explained Gov. Perdue. “I think we did it in the ’12 cycle nationally and I think we’re doing it here this time and nine weeks of this is really damaging to all candidates.”

“These intramural scrimmages are no fun,” joked David Perdue in his victory speech. “You know, you beat up on your teammates and then you got to go to the locker room and talk to them again.”

David Perdue said while he would support a change in how candidates conduct their campaigns, that would be difficult to do.

“In an ideal world, it’d be great. I’d love to debate the issues at every turn. I have no control over what my opponent did or does,” said Perdue. “But, you know, right now I’m really encouraged that most people we talk to in this state are still focused on the critical issues — jobs, the economy and this debt that they’re piling up on the backs of our kids and our grandkids, that’s what people in Georgia want to talk about.”

He and Nunn will have plenty of chances to talk about those issues between now and November.