By Daniel Malloy
WASHINGTON -- Most folks in Georgia don't know who David Perdue is. But the cousin of Gov. Sonny Perdue and former CEO of Dollar General, among other companies, has enough money to introduce himself.
In a phone interview with the AJC this afternoon, Perdue expressed some distaste for the term "self-funder." He prefers "investor," though he declined to specify the size of his investment.
"I’ll see how it plays out," Perdue said. "I will be the largest investor. I’m very confident it’s going to be well-funded. We will have the necessary resources. And our research shows if we get the message out we can win this thing. ...
"I’ll have more skin in the game than any other person who invests with us. But I also ask of other four candidates: Where’s their skin in the game?"
Perdue's swipes at the Big Four in the race -- U.S. Reps. Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston; and former Secretary of State Karen Handel -- came in disparaging their political backgrounds, as opposed to the man who made his name in the corporate world:
"If you look at the choice we have in this election, I’m going to provide Georgia an option. If they like the result right now going on in Washington, they have a choice of four career politicians. … If they want something else, I’m going to provide the only true broad-based business background for them to choose from."
Perdue said he's been in touch with both of Georgia's current senators about his bid. He admires their work, along with that of Tennessee's Bob Corker, Wisconsin's Ron Johnson and Texas' Ted Cruz. I pointed out that those names run the gamut from deal-makers to conservative agitators, and he replied:
"There’s no single model. I think each of us brings own unique perspective. I bring 40 years in business. Frankly, if I get elected that would be the broadest business background in the U.S. Senate. I’ve lived abroad in France, Singapore, Hong Kong. I understand what it takes for America to compete globally and that’s a different perspective."
Perdue called the Senate immigration bill "an example of what's wrong with Washington." He's a secure-the-border-first guy. He is also a fan of term limits and said he would only serve two terms, if elected.
I asked him if he'll take advantage of the Sonny Perdue political network:
"We are. He’s fully supportive. He’s actually an honorary chair of our campaign. We just had an event at his home and there were 100 people there. He and I grew up together. His father and my father were in farming, so we grew up barefoot in the fields together."
The only Senate candiate to offer a rebuttal today to Perdue's debut was Broun. Via a spokeswoman, here are Broun's thoughts:
“I am absolutely flattered that now David Perdue as well as Karen Handel are promoting my candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Each candidate is touting a message that mirrors what I have been doing for the past six years in Congress. I’m fighting against the out-of-control government and out-of-control spending that both parties are guilty of doing in Washington. Georgians will see that I am the leader we need in the U.S. Senate.”