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Senator brings former governor to Covington to make case for Republicans
Sonny in Covington1
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former governor Sonny Perdue and wife Mary pose with Trent Ozburn of Mansfield during a campaign stop by Perdue’s cousin, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, in Covington Saturday, Oct. 31. - photo by Tom Spigolon

COVINGTON, Ga. — U.S. Sen. David Perdue worked to find some last-minute votes in Covington Saturday, Oct. 31, for himself and fellow Republicans and brought along a familiar face to help.

Perdue toured north Georgia on his "Original Outsider" bus tour accompanied by his more nationally famous cousin, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. He stopped at the Covington Square for a series of stump speeches before moving on to Walton and Forsyth counties Saturday. 

Sen. Perdue today was scheduled to appear with President Donald Trump at Richard Russell Airport in Rome — two days before they each ask voters for second terms Tuesday, Nov. 3.

However, on Saturday, Sen. Perdue was concentrating on Covington as his supporters gathered in front of the Social Goat Tavern to hear him speak.

Sonny Perdue, who served as Georgia governor for two terms, told the crowd a poll released a few days before his 2002 election showed him 10 percentage points behind then-Gov. Roy Barnes. 

Sonny Perdue won by 5% to become the first Republican governor in 135 years in Georgia before leaving in 2010.

"Don't be discouraged by the polls," he said.

Latest polls showed Sen. Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff in a virtual tie with a possible January runoff looming because of support for Libertarian candidate Shane Hazel.

Polling also is showing Trump losing to former Vice President Joe Biden in most key states and nationally by an average of about 7%. 

Sonny Perdue said he had been in a number of states, such as Iowa, recently where Trump was doing well. He noted no one among the Covington crowd had been called to ask about their presidential choice in a state where many polls have shown Biden with a slight lead.

"Who are they calling?" he asked. "Not even all Democrats are voting for Biden."

He said David Perdue asked him to consider running for the Senate seat Saxby Chambliss was giving up in 2014. However, Sonny Perdue told his cousin he was through with running for office.

He said David Perdue — a former CEO of Dollar General and Reebok — should run instead because of his concern about the direction of the country.

"He and Bonnie could have lived in comfort," he said.

Sonny Perdue said Republicans support tax policies and deregulation efforts that favor job growth.

"The other crowd wants to go in a different direction," he said.

He also said many Democrats in Congress are supporting calls to "defund the police" in the wake of shootings of unarmed Black men nationwide.

"I'm here because I have 14 grandchildren and I'm concerned about their future," Sonny Perdue said.

David Perdue drew a cheer from the crowd when he told them about his recent vote to confirm conservative Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

He said Democrats want to change the law to favor them rather than applying current law. Democrats in Congress are seeking to eliminate the Electoral College to give more power to California and New York in choosing presidents, he said. 

David Perdue also told the crowd Biden and Barack Obama led the country during lean economic times in which 800,000 fell into poverty. He said 6.5 million emerged from poverty between 2016 and 2019 during Trump's administration.

He criticized the Democratic-led program in 1964 called the Great Society which led to anti-poverty programs long criticized by Republicans as discouraging people from entering the job market. 

"The Great Society doesn't work," he said,

Ossoff's press secretary, Jake Best, today said Sen. Perdue "has no record to run on other than widespread disease, mass unemployment, and self corruption."

Best was referring to Perdue's support for Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic which included calls for reopening teh economy. 

Governments closed businesses in March to help fight the disease, which led to layoffs and many former employees seeking unemployment benefits. 

They also have alleged Perdue personally profited off the pandemic through buying of stocks in companies which produced personal protective equipment — an action Perdue said was not intentional and he told his financial advisors to stop.

Horton and Perdue
From left, Covington Mayor Steve Horton greets U.S. Sen David Perdue as Perdue gets off his bus in front of the Social Goat Tavern during a campaign stop on the Covington Square Saturday, Oct. 31. - photo by Tom Spigolon
Sonny and Bonnie
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue introduces Bonnie Perdue, wife of U.S. Sen. David Perdue, to the crowd in Covington Saturday, Oct. 31. - photo by Tom Spigolon
Perdue and Ozburns
From left, Glenn "Ozzie" Ozburn of Oxford, U.S. Sen. David Perdue and Trent Ozburn of Mansfield pose together in front of Perdue's campaign bus on the Covington Square Saturday, Oct. 31. - photo by Tom Spigolon
Ozzie and David
From left, Glenn "Ozzie" Ozburn of Oxford talks with U.S. Sen David Perdue during a campaign stop by Perdue and others on the Covington Square on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. - photo by Tom Spigolon