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Perdue Slumming With Bannon for Votes on Election Eve

He should be embarrassed by his last-ditch attempt to avoid embarrassment at the polls in Tuesday’s primary.
May 23, 2022
Perdue Slumming With Bannon for Votes on Election Eve
PLAINVILLE, GEORGIA - MAY 20: Republican Gubernatorial candidate David Perdue speaks during a Bikers for Trump campaign event held at the Crazy Acres Bar & Grill on May 20, 2022 in Plainville, Georgia. Former U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) is running to unseat Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp during the state's Republican gubernatorial primary. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump’s favorite sacrificial Senate lamb, David Perdue, spoke on Monday with one of Trump’s indicted-and-pardoned former campaign managers. (Which one? you ask. Fair point: There are so many to choose from.) Perdue appeared on Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast, in a last-ditch attempt to dredge up support for his losing primary campaign against Georgia Governor Brian Kemp.

The most pathetic part? Perdue didn’t even get top billing on the program. Bannon squeezed him in on the back half of the podcast for an interview that lasted less than five minutes. After a mid-show voiceover (quoting Xi Jinping) warning that the “epidemic is a demon and we cannot let this demon hide,” and a Bannon-read commercial for Warpath coffee with a special mention of the breakfast blend “which is ‘Black Powder,’” Perdue made his pitch.

Perdue said he believed there was “a surging” of support for him in the gubernatorial campaign because “people are more aware now, through 2000Mules.com, about what has really transpired in Georgia and are outraged about it.”

Yes, that’s right: Perdue believes his last, best hope lies in pimping Dinesh D’Souza’s ridiculous documentary 2000 Mules for votes. (My review here.)

Then it became evident why Perdue appeared on the podcast. He is desperately hoping Bannon’s listeners will, at least, attend his teletownhall rally with Trump tonight. “I am delighted, though, that Donald Trump is doing another tele-rally tonight, Steve, at seven o’clock if your viewers want to dial in,” Perdue said.

Funny, that will be just around the time that former Vice President Mike Pence will appear alongside Kemp at a real, in-person rally in Cobb County.

Perdue’s optimistic case rests upon bringing new voters to the polls who did not participate in previous elections. As if he were some phenom, an out-of-the-box candidate who attracts new voters and not someone who bombed his Senate re-election just a year ago.

Here’s the theory of victory that Perdue cooked up for Bannon: About half a million Georgians have already participated in the primary by early voting. “Out of 500,000 people that have voted so far, half did not vote in the ’18 primary. . . . Now, I believe those are our folks. The other is I believe a lot of the hard-core Republican conservatives out there in Georgia vote on Election Day, we know that historically. They haven’t voted yet.”

Pollsters, Perdue said, “have to disqualify when they are getting these polls, people who haven’t voted in recent primaries. They are trying to get primary voters and these people are disqualified, the people that are voting now.”

Perdue went on:

I’m anxious to have President Trump again tonight. Contrast that with Brian Kemp. He’s been bringing RINOs like [Arizona Governor Doug] Ducey, and you know, Chris Christie in here and so forth. And he’s got Mike Pence coming tonight. So, we’ve got Donald Trump doing our tele-rally. We’ll have, hopefully, over 100,000 people on that call tonight, listening to the president do what he did in Virginia, Steve, and that is to tell people if you overwhelm the system, we can win. And that’s what they did with Youngkin in Virginia, I think that’s what’s gonna happen tomorrow here in Georgia.

Bannon then led his audience to believe that Perdue’s race may come down to “five or six hundred votes” before wishing him goodbye. Maybe for the last time. It’s hard to imagine Perdue phoning Bannon from his waterfront property once he’s not running for office. Perdue might be groveling for votes today, but he remains a savvy businessman. He spent more investing in his retirement home than in what is probably his final, losing campaign.

Later on Monday, Perdue kept up the slumming—this time, hopping on Newsmax to use deploy one of Trump’s most infamous lines: He told Stacey Abrams to “go back to where you came from.” Using this phrase the day before the primary was by no means an accident. We know it was an ugly, calculated choice of closing sound bite because he used the exact same phrase Monday on John Fredericks’s radio show.

Update: Trump’s appearance at Perdue’s tele-rally tonight lasted just seven minutes. The  ex-president, whose usual rhetorical style could best be described as longwinded divagation and bombastic verbigeration, didn’t bother to muster more than ten minutes for Perdue.

Amanda Carpenter

Bulwark political columnist Amanda Carpenter is a CNN contributor, author, and former communications director to Sen. Ted Cruz and speechwriter to Sen. Jim DeMint.