Perdue is one of the big surprises of this campaign season. The multi-millionaire former CEO of a string of well-known companies largely self-funded his campaign and came out of nowhere to be the leading vote-getter in the May 20 GOP primary. In the process he gathered more votes than a number of better-known candidates, including three incumbent congressmen — one of them Kingston.
Perdue trades on his “outsider” status as a non-politician and plays to those fed up by the constant bickering and gridlock on Capitol Hill. It’s a feeling with which we sympathize.
Yet Perdue has never crafted a bill, advocated for it and shepherded it to passage. He’s never had to rally his party’s faithful, line up votes or — as successful legislators must do — learn how to compromise on the occasional detail without selling out on his underlying principles.
In other words, Perdue has the luxury of having no record to run on. He is a blank slate on which voters can pin their hopes. He talks a good game about transforming Washington, but, as every president learns, even the most powerful man in the world can only change the culture there by so much. And as just one senator of 100, whoever is elected will find there is no magic wand awaiting him.
Jack Kingston, on the other hand, has written and passed many a bill and cast thousands of thousands of votes during his time in Congress. He stands by what he’s done for his district, this state and this country. He’s a known quantity — and he’s not the kind of lawmaker who’s been corrupted by the Capitol Hill experience.
Perdue is eager and affable, but given how he’s spent recent decades rubbing elbows with upper-crust business types, we’re not sure he truly understands the economic challenges of the merchants on Marietta Square, or of those shopping at the Avenues in east and west Cobb, much less the grind of living from paycheck-to-paycheck like far too many do, even in a prosperous community such as ours.
Kingston is a native of Athens and a University of Georgia grad who made his career in the business-insurance industry in Savannah. He has Main Street business experience and has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
He is a senior member of the prestigious House Appropriations Committee that directs federal spending and he has always been a dependable vote for a strong national defense.
In addition, he has been one of the leaders in the effort to assure federal funding for the deepening of the Savannah Harbor — which remains Georgia’s top economic priority and which will bring positive results on hiring and the economy here in the metro area and across the state.
Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn has already proven in her short political career she has a knack for connecting with people. Having been anointed as the Democratic standard-bearer by her party’s elite even before the primary, she has had the luxury of running a soft, feel-good campaign that’s light on the issues and heavy on her supposed political “moderation.”
It therefore is incumbent that Republicans nominate for Senate a candidate who is equally good at connecting and, more importantly, who is more reflective of the values and views of most Georgians. And there is no question Jack Kingston is that candidate. And there is no question Kingston offers Republicans the best chance of retaining Chambliss’ Senate seat.
Keep in mind a Nunn win would mean another vote for a continuation of an Obama-type/Reid/Pelosi agenda. That makes it incumbent on Republican voters to choose the candidate who will offer Nunn the strongest challenge. And Jack Kingston is that Republican.