NBC: Trump lowers expectations for Perdue ahead of primary
Down in fundraising and polling, Perdue limps to the finish line
Facing limited financial resources and low poll numbers, former U.S. Sen. David Perdue has pulled all of his ads from the air and has few campaign appearances on his schedule ahead of Tuesday’s primary. And to add insult to injury, his most prominent supporter is starting to lower expectations.
Former President Donald Trump, who personally recruited Perdue to challenge Gov. Brian Kemp, griped to his inner circle about the former Senator’s “lackluster” campaign, sources told NBC News.
“Trump isn’t planning to make any more personal appearances in Georgia in Perdue’s behalf, having sunk enough of his own political capital in a race that looks like a lost cause, said a fourth source, a person close to the former president, speaking on condition of anonymity to talk more freely about Perdue’s prospects.”
Perdue responded to the report on Friday morning, dismissing it as an effort to discredit Trump. “This is another ploy of the left, you know, I think (they) are really trying to discredit President Trump,” he said. “I can tell you he's still all-in in this race.”
Still, this is far from the first time Trump has backed away from one of his endorsed candidates. In the Alabama Senate race, Trump had initially supported far-right Congressman Mo Brooks — until he withdrew his endorsement after Brooks’ poll numbers went south.
A recent Fox News poll has the Governor polling at 60% to Perdue’s 28%. “Hell no, I’m not down 30 points,” Perdue said this week when asked about his low poll numbers. “We may not win Tuesday, but I can damn guarantee you that we are not down 30 points.”
A Perdue loss would no doubt be a major setback for Trump in his quest to strengthen his grip on the Republican Party ahead of a possible third run for the White House in 2024. In Kemp, he is seeking to dislodge a one-time ally for refusing to overturn President Joe Biden’s Georgia victory in the 2020 election.
Perdue has just one scheduled campaign event this weekend: a Republican meeting in Union County on Saturday. Kemp, meanwhile, has been crisscrossing the state all week, with stops in LaGrange, Thomaston and Greensboro.
To get a better idea of how both candidates are gearing up for Tuesday’s election, look no further than how they will be spending their Friday afternoon. Kemp will be in Bryan County to announce a $7 billion investment deal with Hyundai Motor Group. Perdue will be in Savannah campaigning with conservative firebrand Sarah Palin.
Those close to Perdue are hedging their bets on other candidates siphoning off some votes in order to force a runoff election with Kemp in June. But with early voting set to wrap up on Friday, others are acknowledging that Perdue may just be out of time.
“It’s hard to see how this race isn’t over,” one Republican told NBC.