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Perdue voices opposition to Rivian, plans to campaign in Rutledge this week
David Perdue
Gubernatorial candidate David Perdue talks to supporters following a campaign stop at Covington Airport on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2022. - photo by Tom Spigolon

ATLANTA — David Perdue will come to Morgan County this week to rally opponents of the Rivian plant as part of his campaign for governor.

The Perdue campaign is calling it a “Save Georgia, Stop Soros” event. Perdue will speak at Play Fair Park in Rutledge at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The announcement said Perdue’s goal is “to stop Soros-funded Rivian and protect rural Georgia.” In a statement Monday morning, the campaign ripped the $5 billion project that is bringing 7,500 jobs to Morgan and Walton counties.

“Brian Kemp is selling us out to George Soros. He’s pledged our tax dollars to lure a California company funded by George Soros to Georgia and is calling it ‘economic development,’” Perdue said in a statement.

“This bad deal is nothing more than a scheme by Kemp to promote himself in an election year at Georgians’ expense. Kemp thought he could get away with this under the guise of ‘economic development,’ but all he is doing here is selling us out and lining George Soros’ pockets.”

Soros bought nearly 20 million shares in Rivian Inc., worth about $2 billion, in late 2021. That made Soros Fund Management among the top investors in the electric vehicle manufacturer, Reuters reported. Other major investors include Inc., Cox Communications and Ford.

Soros, 91, is a Hungarian-born billionaire investor. He’s often criticized on the right for his donations to democracy-building efforts around the world, and to Democratic candidates in the U.S.

Soros and Michael Bloomberg formed the Black PAC to support Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the runoffs for the 2020 Georgia Senate races. Ossoff defeated Perdue to unseat the Republican after one term.

After serving as a senator from 2015-21, Perdue is making a comeback by challenging Gov. Brian Kemp in the May 24 Republican primary.

Kemp in December announced California-based Rivian had chosen Georgia — specifically the Stanton Springs North site straddling Morgan and Walton counties including a part of Social Circle — for its $5 billion investment of an EV manufacturing site.

The Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton Counties owns the site and the Stanton Springs Business Park that includes Takeda Pharmaceuticals and the Meta Newton Data Center.

“This development brings quality economic development to the hard-working people of our community and state. Rivian will provide thousands of high-paying jobs for the area and it is committed to being a great partner to support our community,” JDA spokesman Ben Sheidler said.

He said Rivian has begun exploring partnerships with local schools to train students and said the company would ease taxpayers’ burdens by contributing the community.

“Many politicians talk about wanting manufacturing jobs back in America,” Sheidler said. “It is curious why a former statewide elected official would be against that happening in his home state.

“Thanks to the work of this community over the years, Rivian recognized Georgia and Stanton Springs as the ideal place to create American manufacturing jobs. We’re focused on bringing the community together and uniting around the benefits of having American-made cars built by Georgians.”

But Perdue said knocked the process by which Rivian is coming to the community.

“Growth should be organic,” he said, “and the local community and its leaders should be involved in the process. Obviously that is not the case here.

“Many members of the local community have expressed major concerns with having California-based, Soros-funded Rivian in their backyards. Like a typical 20-year career politician, Kemp is ignoring locals’ concerns and trying to cut them out of the process.”