Georgia’s Republican runoff between former Dollar General CEO David Perdue and longtime Congressman Jack Kingston has become a clinic in mudslinging, with each candidate seizing on the tried-and-true Republican tactic of calling themselves a "true conservative" while accusing the opponent of being a "liberal."
Both candidates have major skeletons in their closets, and have been going on the attack to expose those bones. For Kingston’s team, Perdue’s acceptance of Obama stimulus money for one his former employers has been a weak spot in the armor, as well as Perdue’s cutting thousands of jobs at Dollar General. Kingston has also seized on some pro-tax statements attributed to Perdue to create ads in which "President Obama" leaves messages on Kingston's voice telling him to drop out of the race, calling Perdue "my man."
Speaking to the Savannah Morning News, Kingston accused Perdue of only voting in this election cycle because his name is on the ballot, saying “that takes chutzpah, if nothing else.”
Perdue, on the other hand, has focused on Kingston’s votes to raise the debt ceiling, and has minced no words about his superiority as an outsider. He has consistently been attacking Kingston’s voting record in Congress, blasting votes to raise the controversial debt ceiling. Also, recent reports have surfaced of the Congressman’s return of $80,000 in campaign funds to a Palestinian businessman facing criminal deportation. He has also put the spotlight on his successful turnaround of trouble companies, trying to steer the campaign narrative from his failures to success he attributes to his conservative values applied in the business arena.
Both candidates have committed campaign gaffes they had to recover from. Perdue was accused of being an “elitist” after he made remarks claiming he was better qualified to be Senator than former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel because he had more education than she did. After being eliminated, Handel surprised nobody in throwing her support behind Kingston who, in a memorable foot-in-mouth moment, was quoted as saying poor students should "sweep floors" to receive school lunch benefits.
The winner of this runoff will face Democrat Michelle Nunn in the general election.