Perdue is facing off against fellow Republican Jack Kingston in a runoff race that will determine who gets to represent the party in the November election against Democrat Michelle Nunn. In the primary election Perdue edged Kingston out by 30.64 percent to 25.80 percent of the general vote. With the runoff scheduled for July 22, and early voting still underway, campaigning has intensified.
“Well we’ve been here before. We’re going around the state. We’re trying to get to all the places we can get to as quickly as we can,” Perdue said. “We’ve been hustling for the last year and a half trying to get this message out to the state. This week we’re going to make 50 stops in about seven or eight days. ... We’re really trying to remind people what this race is really all about. They’ve got a good choice: a career politician and an outsider.
“... My message is if everybody’s happy with that’s going on in Washington right now, then vote for my opponent. But if they’re as outraged as I am about the situation in Washington, about the size and scope of this government and the mess we’ve got in foreign policy and all that, then I hope they’ll look at me as an alternative.”
Perdue said his focus is on three items: reducing the county’s debt, growing the economy and instituting term limits. Growing the economy through reformation of the tax code and taking advantage of the recent boom in oil and natural gas production would stimulate the economy, Perdue said, which would lead to job growth that could help reduce the national debt. Putting limits on terms, he believed, would help keep the problems from happening in the first place.
“I think a lot of the problems in Washington can be put at the feet of the people who are driven by the re-election [obsession] ... and their primary focus is to get re-elected. I think term limits would help solve that,” he said.
Aside from jobs and the economy, Perdue said the American education system is a high priority as well. He believed nationwide programs, such as No Child Left Behind and Common Core, were ineffective.
“About one out of three kids aren’t getting out of high school, and our 14 year olds are right in the middle of the pack in terms of math and science. We can do better than that. ... I think it’s time to try another approach. We owe our kids that,” Perdue said. “... We need to get rid of Common Core. The other federal programs, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Common Core, all of these have proven that the results just don’t bear out that moving money to Washington is going to solve the problem,” Perdue said. “My theory is to move as much of that money to the local school systems as you can. ... I just was raised that local decisions are the best in terms of taking care of the needs of those kids.”
On a state level, Perdue tied foreign policy to Georgia’s economy, citing the number of miliary bases located in the state.
“I think there are two really profound issues here in the state. One is unemployment. People are hurting the state because of the bad policies in Washington are keeping our economy from growing the way it needs to. And the second is our foreign policy is really in disarray right now because we confuse the world and also ... our economy is not strong enough and therefore puts at risk our military, which puts at risk our foreign policy and with all the military interests in this state, we’ve got to get serious about getting our economy growing so we can make sure we have a strong defense,” he said.
Perdue shook hands with the gathered supporters and people who wished to ask a question or two. He spoke to the crowd shortly, emphasizing his self-described outsider status as a candidate. Before leaving, he asked those present to get out the vote and make their voices heard in the runoff.
Early voting in Bartow County will continue until July 18. For more information, contact the Bartow County Board of Elections and Voter Registration at 770-387-5098. The office is located at 105 N. Bartow St., Cartersville.