On Monday, former Sen. David Perdue officially announced his Republican primary challenge to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. On Wednesday, he pledged allegiance to Donald Trump’s big lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Asked whether, had he been governor, he would have signed the certification of Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results, Perdue said he would not have done so.
“Not with the information that was available at the time and not with the information that has come out now,” he told Axios. “They had plenty of time to investigate this. And I wouldn’t have signed it until those things had been investigated and that’s all we were asking for.”
Perdue’s embrace of election rejection is driven by political necessity. The only reason that Kemp is at all vulnerable in a Republican primary in 2022 is his decision to reject pressure being exerted by then-President Trump to overturn the Georgia results. Kemp, when he certified the election results in late November 2020, made clear that state law bound his hands when it came to the results.
“State law now requires the governor’s office to formalize the certification, which paves the way for the Trump campaign to pursue other legal options and a separate recount if they choose,” Kemp said, adding, “As governor, I have a solemn responsibility to follow the law, and that is what I will do.”
In early December of that year, the state recertified Joe Biden’s narrow win over Trump after a third recount of the votes – yes, a THIRD recount – showed no widespread ballot fraud or major counting errors.
“Today is an important day for election integrity in Georgia and across the country,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said after the re-certification. “Georgians can now move forward knowing that their votes, and only their legal votes, were counted accurately, fairly and reliably.”
(Trump has also made beating Raffensperger a major priority, recruiting Rep. Jody Hice into the secretary of state primary in 2022.)
What evidence did Perdue provide to justify his claim that he would not, as governor, have signed the election certification in 2020? Oh, he didn’t provide any. Unless you count “those things” (from his statement above) as, um, evidence.
Perdue, it’s worth noting, was no longer in the Senate when the chamber voted on objections to the Electoral College count in Arizona and Pennsylvania. (His term had run out before the January special election, which he lost to Sen. Jon Ossoff.)
On January 4, just two days before the violent insurrection at the US Capitol, Perdue told Maria Bartiromo that “I’m encouraging my colleagues to object. This is something that the American people demand right now.”
The stark reality uncovered by Perdue’s latest statement on the 2020 election is that Trump has turned a belief in his big lie into a litmus test within the Republican Party. You either agree to go along with his fantasy that the election was somehow stolen (despite all evidence to the contrary) and give yourself a chance to win his support or you take the side of facts and run the risk (like Kemp) that the former President will try to end your political career.
It’s an awful choice for any politician to make. And, unfortunately for the country, too many Republican politicians are doing what Perdue did – putting Trump over country.