The problem for Perdue is that races aren’t won on paper. Perdue is coming off an embarrassing defeat to Jon Ossoff in a January Senate runoff—a race where Trump’s meritless allegations of voter fraud depressed Republican turnout. Now Perdue sounds willing to embrace Trump’s election denialism as the main dividing line between himself and the governor. That smacks of political opportunism, a strategy appealing to the faction of true Trumpian believers but not the broader Republican electorate.
“There is no half-right on this. You either believe there’s some global conspiracy theory to single out Trump from winning an election or you believe we didn’t do the things necessary to win a close election,” said Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Kemp supporter. “[Perdue] should be mad at Donald Trump, not Brian Kemp, for that loss.”
Notably, Perdue’s credibility with Trump’s base is far from rock solid. On his podcast, Trump adviser Steve Bannon called Perdue a phony who isn’t a credible champion of Trump’s election denialism. “There’s no difference between Kemp and Perdue,” Bannon exclaimed. Will right-wing Republican voters view a wealthy businessman who faced accusations of insider trading during his last Senate run as a worthy alternative to the governor, simply because Trump said so? It’s far from a guarantee.