This Republican Senate candidate wants to raise your taxes

David Perdue

David Perdue is poised to make the runoff in the Georgia Republican Senate primary, according to recent polls. He’s managed to put his name on the map through his personal largess, dropping nearly $2 million of his own money into his campaign, and quickly become the darling of the state party establishment. He’s saturated the media market, running four television ads to raise his name identification, and, as noted, that strategy has paid off.

But Perdue, the former CEO of Dollar General and Reebok, has come under scrutiny in recent days. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Perdue, cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue (R-GA), has never voted in a general primary in Georgia. Whether Perdue’s camp wants to acknowledge it or not, that’s a red flag, but it’s not the only one that has been raised in the past week.

On Wednesday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Perdue, in an interview with another local paper, floated the idea of “revenue increases” (hint: that’s a code word for tax hikes) to address the United States’ economic woes.

“Is it better to try to get out of the ditch by curbing the growth of spending or increasing revenue?” a Macon Telegraph editorial board member asked Perdue.

“Both,” Perdue replied.

“And that’s a euphemism for some kind of tax increase, of course,” the editorial board member noted.

“Well, here’s the reality, if you go into a business, and I keep coming back to my background, it’s how I know how to relate is to refer back to it — I was never able to turn around a company just by cutting spending. You had to figure out a way to get revenue growing,” Perdue said. “And what I just said, there are five people in the U.S. Senate who understand what I just said. You know revenue is not something they think about.”

The reality is that when the federal government increases taxes, it takes money out of Americans’ pockets, meaning less investment and productivity. Perdue’s campaign has tried to control the damage, claiming that the candidate was “was stating a simple economic principle: If the economy is growing and more people were working, it generates more revenue.”

Cool. So, why didn’t he say that?

It’s a pretty simple answer to what was a point-blank question. Perdue didn’t bother to make the pro-growth, supply-side case. Instead, he came off like yet another big government Republican, one willing to surrender more taxpayer money to the federal government.

One interesting part of this is that Perdue has entered into an area in which Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) entered at the end of 2012. Chambliss, who never was much of a fiscal conservative, floated the idea of tax hikes, which put him in hot water with the conservative base and ignited speculation of a credible primary challenge. He opted not to run for reelection.

Ironically, Perdue is running to replace Chambliss.

Perdue has already showed Georgia Republicans what kind of senator he would be, and that could make what happens in the Peach State between next week’s primary and the July runoff ground-zero in the ongoing intraparty war between the Tea Party and the Republican establishment.

“I challenge David Perdue to find one Georgia conservative who believes that the Senate dealmakers in Washington don’t ‘think about revenue’ often enough,” said Russ Walker of FreedomWorks for America in a statement this morning. “Perdue’s squishy response shows that it’s not enough for politicians to just sign a piece of paper, they have to be held accountable by the people.”

“There are a number of conservative candidates in the Georgia Senate Republican Primary, but David Perdue is not one of them. We encourage all Georgia voters to see David Perdue for the backroom dealmaker that he really is, and choose a ‘conservative, not Perdue’ at the ballot box,” he added.

There may be some differences between Perdue and the likely Democratic nominee, Michelle Nunn, but they may not be very discernable. Republican voters want a nominee who will take on the Obama administration, not cede battles on taxes or whatever other issues happen to come up in Congress.

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