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Perdue makes racist remark about Abrams: She’s ‘demeaning her own race’

Former senator David Perdue, who is trailing Gov. Brian Kemp in polling for his gubernatorial primary, criticized Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams. “She said that Georgia is the worst place in the country to live,” he said. “Hey, she ain’t from here. Let her go back where she came from if she doesn’t like it here.” (John Bazemore/AP)

Former senator David Perdue, who is trailing in the polls for Georgia’s GOP gubernatorial nomination, on Monday attacked Stacey Abrams, the Democrat running unopposed in her primary, by claiming she’s “demeaning her own race.”

During a campaign stop in Dunwoody, Ga., Perdue asked the crowd whether they had seen “what Stacey said this weekend.”

“She said that Georgia is the worst place in the country to live,” Perdue said. “Hey, she ain’t from here. Let her go back where she came from if she doesn’t like it here.”

Abrams, who served in the Georgia House of Representatives for a decade, moved to Georgia in high school and has lived there for most of her life.

At an appearance in Atlanta on Tuesday, Abrams dismissed Perdue’s racist comment and focused on GOP policies — or her argument that the party lacks an agenda.

Outside a Baptist church in the Kirkwood neighborhood, Abrams said she has “listened to Republicans attack me, but they’ve done nothing … to articulate a plan for Georgia.”

The Post’s Amy Gardner previews the Georgia GOP primaries for governor and secretary of state on May 24, and analyzes former president Donald Trump’s impact. (Video: JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

Perdue was referring to statements Abrams made Saturday during a fundraising dinner, in which she referred to the state’s poor ranking in multiple issues, including incarceration, mental health and maternal mortality rates.

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“I am tired of hearing about being the best state in the country to do business when we are the worst state in the country to live,” Abrams said, per NBC News. “When you’re number 48 for mental health, when you’re number one for maternal mortality, when you have an incarceration rate that’s on the rise and wages that are on the decline, then you are not the number one place to live in the United States.”

“But we can get there,” she added. “You see, Georgia is capable of greatness. We just need greatness to be in our governor’s office.”

She was pushing against Gov. Brian Kemp’s claims that Georgia is ranked best in the nation for business. Kemp and Perdue are running against each other for the GOP nomination.

Perdue, however, offered none of this context when attacking Abrams on Monday.

“The only thing she wants is to be president of the United States,” Perdue said. He added: “When she told Black farmers, ‘You don’t need to be on the farm,’ and she told Black workers in hospitality and all this, ‘You don’t need to be’ — she is demeaning her own race when it comes to that. I am really over this. She should never be considered for material for governor of any state, much less our state — where she hates to live.”

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Perdue was probably referring to comments Abrams made in 2018, when, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she told voters she wanted to “create lots of different jobs. … Because people shouldn’t have to go into agriculture or hospitality in Georgia to make a living. Why not create renewable energy jobs?”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams on May 24 defended calling Georgia “the worst state in the country," calling her comments "inelegant." (Video: Reuters)

Perdue — who has been polling behind Kemp — has been endorsed by former president Donald Trump, and Perdue’s comments Monday echoed some of Trump’s own racist statements. In 2019, for instance, the former president remarked that four minority, liberal congresswomen should “go back” to their countries — a statement that prompted broad condemnation.

Trump, during a “tele-rally” for Perdue on Monday, also lashed out against Abrams, falsely telling voters she would “radicalize your children and plunder your wealth and all of the other things.”

Still, Trump said Abrams would beat Perdue’s primary opponent Kemp in a general election matchup.

“Stacey Abrams totally dominates Brian Kemp,” Trump said.

Alex P. Kellogg in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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