David Perdue’s business background looms large in Senate run

By Greg Bluestein The Atlanta Journal-Constitution David Perdue hopes his business experience will…

Georgia (Aug 9, 2013) — By Greg Bluestein


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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

David Perdue hopes his business experience will distinguish him among the crowded Republican field running for a U.S. Senate seat. But his boardroom background poses challenges that will test his campaign like no other this election cycle.

He’s known on Wall Street as a turnaround specialist who helps revive brands and reap rewards for investors. But his rivals will try to depict the former Fortune 500 leader as out-of-touch with regular citizens. And he’ll face questions about his business setbacks.

Perdue also will confront the same problem facing Michelle Nunn, the only big-name Democratic contender running for retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat: Not since Mack Mattingly’s victory in 1980 has a candidate without public electoral experience won a Senate seat in Georgia.

He’s put together a formidable team of strategists, made up of some people who worked for his famous first cousin, former Gov. Sonny Perdue. But competition looms large from veteran politicians: Reps. Phil Gingrey, Paul Broun and Jack Kingston and former Secretary of State Karen Handel.  …       

Political analysts say discontent with veteran lawmakers and Perdue’s famous pedigree could help him succeed where others failed. Said Kerwin Swint, a Kennesaw State University political scientist: “He’s an outsider yet his name has so much power to it.”

Expect rivals to portray him as a jet-setting globetrotter with a Sea Island mansion and a checking account sizable enough to float his campaign. And expect Perdue to counter with stories of his Middle Georgia upbringing and homespun wisdom from his 87-year-old mom, the now-retired teacher.

“I’m not embarrassed by my success as a business person,” he said. “And I won’t run away from it.” 


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu