GOP Senate showdown in Georgia getting heated
July 14th, 2014
11:37 AM ET
5 months ago

GOP Senate showdown in Georgia getting heated

(CNN) - With just over a week to go until the runoff, the two candidates in the Republican Senate primary in Georgia are sharpening their attacks on each other.

Rep. Jack Kingston and businessman David Perdue fired away at each other as Sunday night's one and only televised debate between the two candidates turned into a testy affair. The winner of the July 22 runoff will face off against Democrat Michelle Nunn in November's general election.

Perdue, a former CEO of Dollar General and Reebok, repeatedly blasted the 11-term congressman as being part of the problem in Washington.

"This is a problem when you have an out of touch Congress, led by a career politician whose first priority is to get re-elected. This is a travesty," said Perdue, adding that "right now we are spending a third of what we should be spending as a country on all of our infrastructure. And because of that we're becoming less and less competitive around the world. On this congressman's watch over the last 22 years, we have lost our competitive edge against many parts of the world. And it's time to change that."

Kingston touted his commitment to his constituents in his coastal Georgia district and fired back at Perdue.

"Let me talk to you about being out of touch. I've come home every single weekend. I've had open mike town meetings. I work with people who disagree with me. David, you whole lifestyle is based in a different way. Now you have done well for yourself. But you live in a gated community, inside a gated community and have a gate at your house. How are you going to work with John Q. Public when they come up to you and have questions? I think being part of a public servant is being public and being a servant. Knowing who you're working for and being accessible to them is extremely important," Kingston said.

Perdue has poured more than $3 million of his own money into his campaign. That's helped him keep pace with Kingston, who began the race with a large war chest and has dominated fundraising. Kingston also enjoys the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has run ads backing the congressman.

Perdue's first cousin, former two-term Georgia Gov. Sonny Purdue, will appear in Perdue commercials in the campaign's final week. Another high profile supporter, 2012 GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, will appear in radio spots.

The latest polls suggest the race between the two candidates is close.

Perdue and Kingston finished first and second in the May primary, beating out three more conservative candidates, Reps. Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun and former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel.

Nunn easily won the Democratic primary, as she tries to follow in the footsteps of her father, former longtime Sen. Sam Nunn. The winner of the November election will succeed retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambiss.

Complete coverage: 2014 Midterm Elections

Democrats have a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party). But in the midterms, the party is defending 21 of the 36 seats up for grabs, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states.

Democrats see Georgia as one of only two states, along with Kentucky, where they hope to go on offensive in the battle for the Senate.

CNN's Paul Steinhauser  and Steve Brusk contributed to this report


Filed under: 2014 • Georgia • Senate • Senate Primaries • Senate Race
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Ol' Yeller

    Another rich republicant trying to buy himself a seat. I wonder who the koch brothers will be backing... then billionaires tend to stick together (so they can continue to stick it to us).

    July 14, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. Bill from GA

    There's my boys!!

    Mr. Conservative and Mr. More Conservative.
    Which is which, for the winner of the GA REpub Senate nomination.

    July 14, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. guest

    I gotta agree with purdue about his infrastructure comments, we are not protecting/improving the infrastructure that led to america becoming an economic powerhouse.

    Though, him being a businessman makes me wonder what his angle is to make improving the infrastructure pay off for him personally. I am very very leery of voting in a businessman for any political position, the GWB administration only drove my point home that businessmen tend to be in it for themselves first. Smart business men can make it pay off for everyone else as well, but I dont think american businessmen these days represent smart, just greedy.

    July 14, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  4. Bill from GA

    Perdue, – "right now we are spending a third of what we should be spending as a country on all of our infrastructure. "

    Last week Perdue was attacking Kingston for all the earmarks funding Kingston was behind. Kingston was a big spending Washington Congressman. Guess Perdue found out that Georgia likes Washington money. As long as it is coming to Georgia. Otherwise, it's Government Waste.

    July 14, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  5. sonny chapman

    Question: What happened to the Democratic Party in Ga. & the South ?
    Answer: True to LBJ's prediction , the racists(mostly white, but a few blacks) left & became REPUBLICANS. Not all Republicans in Red States are racist, but the "white flight" explains the huge turnaround in party enrollment. P.S.-I AM from the South; I know of what I speak(unfortunately).

    July 14, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. Bill from GA

    " Sonny Purdue, will appear in Perdue commercials "..." Herman Cain, will appear in radio spots "

    But What About Sarah Palin?? Who is SHE going to endorse??
    I'm on the edge of my seat!!
    Tell us, Sarah!!

    ( I really can't vote in their primary runoff. Voted Dem already. )

    July 14, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. just asking

    Bill from GA
    Guess Perdue found out that Georgia likes Washington money.
    --

    i thought georgia residents were also subject to federal tax laws as well. typical leftist liberal democrat! thinks our money is theirs!! this is no such thing as washington money!!

    July 14, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. Bill from GA

    guest – " I gotta agree with purdue about his infrastructure comments, we are not protecting/improving the infrastructure that led to america becoming an economic powerhouse. "

    I've heard his commercials for months. He says what he thinks the voters want to hear. Kingston was behind the port expansion money for Savannah. Either one will vote for the Republican Agenda once in office. If their Masters tell them No on infrastructure, they vote NO.

    July 14, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Amazingly, there are many conservatives out there who swear that there isn't a civil war within the Republican Party.

    July 14, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. Ray E (Georgia)

    Um, Sorry,
    I don't know who will be nominated as I don't know much about Perdue but Jack Kingston is a very conservative congressman and has been good for the country but the Liberals in the Senate have refused to pass anything conservative. Not real sure about Michelle Nunn either. The last democrat senator we had, Max Cleland turned out to be a Liberal and lasted one term. I suspect who ever get's elected they won't be friend of liberal politics.

    July 14, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. sonny chapman

    P.S.-Dow broke another record. Obama is destroying this Country.

    July 14, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  12. S.B. Stein

    Let them spend the money and throw mud at each other. Just because one is an executive doesn't mean that person will understand the legislative process any better. As for the one who has been in the House, the Senate rules are different. How does either one plan on getting their colleagues to do as they want them?

    July 14, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    @just asking, the money coming from DC disproportionately comes from Blue states, going to what Chris Christie accurately described as " taker" states: eg, Georgia. Typical conservative misconception about what funds the tax cuts in their states. Ray E ( Georgia) please name one significant piece of legislation Kingston has passed that has benefited the nation. Max Cleland was blasted because he voted against the authorization to go into Iraq, and was accused of being soft on terrorism: a triple amputee who won the Congressional Medal of Honor was accused of being weak on terrorism. It only shows that you are not from Georgia, eh, Gundy?

    July 14, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. Lizzie

    O'Yeller so who does Tom Steyer support on the democratic side, he said he would spend as much money as it takes to buy the seat

    July 14, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    just asking

    Bill from GA
    Guess Perdue found out that Georgia likes Washington money.
    -

    i thought georgia residents were also subject to federal tax laws as well. typical leftist liberal democrat! thinks our money is theirs!! this is no such thing as washington money!!
    ===========================================================
    This is a the prevailing attitude on the right, that there is no such thing as "Washington money." The view all tax dollars as their money, which is being forcefully taken away form them. Quite a few think that the whole idea of tax collection is unconstitutional, which is nuts because how can the government function without any revenue.

    July 14, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. Ol' Yeller

    "Jack Kingston is a very conservative congressman and has been good for the country"

    This is an oxymoronic statement and makes no sense. You can't be both.
    You are either very conservative OR good for the country.
    What has the conservatives in congress done for the average American in the last few decades?
    Thom Hartmann had a challenge on his radio show for anyone to call in with any law passed by a conservative which has helped the average American more than it did the uber wealthy... for two hours not one caller could come up with anything and many tried...and they were going back to the 60's trying to find one.
    Just one.

    July 14, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. morebs

    just once, I would love to see the politicians tell what they plan on doing and have the record to back it up instead of saying why their opponent is so bad.

    July 14, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. king

    all these repubs want is more money for the rich so they help build china more powerful than us. at a time when our rivals governments are pouring money into there country modernization. we are full steam ahead the other direction, because five years of demonizing this president agenda have clouded the people's minds, so they allow the repubs to play russian roullette with our country"s future. these repubs have no incentirtive to improve this country's well being. especially when a 2014 election around the corner and with more powerful presidential election in 2016. there sole job is to wreck this
    country to force the people to vote them back ibtll

    July 14, 2014 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  19. Silence DoGood

    @Rudy NYC
    Amazingly, there are many conservatives out there who swear that there isn't a civil war within the Republican Party.
    ------------
    ....and when it turns ugly like in the McDaniel's defeat, it is the Dems' fault. Another in the line of conspiracy theories to explain away what we can all see.

    July 14, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. kool aid man

    Sounds like they need a Democrat, pronto. If these were my choices anyway, bad, or worse, no thanks.

    July 14, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. rs

    More evidence of the deep divisions on the Right- electing people neck-deep in fighting would seem to be unwise at this point as voters have no real clue as to what they are going to get. Just another reason not to vote Red.

    July 14, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Do we really want Republicans in charge of running this country? Look at what happens when they are and outright lies that they tell in the name of protecting and enriching the wealth of their donors. Their lies have motives, which we can easily point to. Under Bush-43 ... ...

    – Republicans blame "big government" for any and everything. Yet, we saw the largest growth of government under Bush through his privatization, which took hundreds of thousands of job positions out of federal hands, and out of the total numbers of federal jobs. You see, contractors do not count. The "blame big government" lie is just a clever ruse, a big shiny thing for your eye to follow, while big, no-bid contracts are awarded, which sends your tax dollars to the friends and donors. Case in point, Haliburton.

    – Republicans lied about economic growth during the Bush years, which saw tens of thousands of manufacturing sites either close or move overseas, at a cost of millions of jobs. Bush had a net lost of hundreds of thousands jobs during his two terms. The only real people who benefited from the "record economic growth" of the 2000s we the hedge fund managers and other big investors. Republicans would have you believe that everyone benefited.

    – Look at the lies Republicans told us when it came to foreign policy. Bush once told us that he didn't know where Bin Laden was, and chuckled that he didn't care. He genuinely didn't. He already had what he wanted, multiple streams of billions of tax dollars going to private contractors. Did you know that by 2008 Department of Homeland Security had an annual budget of over $100 billion and that there were close to 500 contractors working for DHS with contracts in excess of $100 million each? Did you know that the second largest defense department in the world is our very own DHS?

    July 14, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    S.B. Stein

    Let them spend the money and throw mud at each other. Just because one is an executive doesn't mean that person will understand the legislative process any better. As for the one who has been in the House, the Senate rules are different. How does either one plan on getting their colleagues to do as they want them?
    ----------------------------–
    Top executives try to never negotiate, but only to dominate and destroy their economic competition. Right wing economic ideology has reached the height of being a religion, which makes "compromising on your principles" a sin. It's why we have a separation of church and state in this country, to avoid the rule of a draconian government.

    July 14, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. Ray E (Georgia)

    Aw, Well,
    Sorry! Conservatives think you can think, act for yourselves. Not True? Agreed, it's no true. Humm? But so many thought they knew what is best. Look at the Country and it's Problems. "Smart" people voted for it. So, can you think for yourself or do you need your Nanny??? Um, Conservatives not good for the country? Well we do have the 18 Trillion Dollar Federal Debt. We have 50 million on Food Stamps. We still have too much unemployment, mortgages in arrears, and by golly we have Obama Care and the taxpayers, (What's Left of them) footing the bill. Pretty soon we will have to hire a huge gaggle of launguage interpereters for all the border jumpers infesting our public schools!! Happy days are here again !!!

    July 14, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "But you live in a gated community, inside a gated community and have a gate at your house.

    Whatevs. The analogy is apt for every single GOper/Teatroll out there: they live in airtight little delusions on Realty Denial Boulevard, with big shiny ideological gates to keep out all the unwanted facts.

    July 14, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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