Donald Trump makes direct-to-camera plea for David Perdue in Georgia’s governor race

Former Sen. David Perdue’s first television ad in his campaign for Georgia governor features former President Donald Trump calling on voters to back his bid to unseat Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.

Mr. Trump put a political bull’s-eye on Mr. Kemp’s back after the governor refused to support his claims of the 2020 election being stolen from him.

“David Perdue is an outstanding man. He’s tough. He’s smart,” Mr. Trump says in the 30-second spot. “He has my complete and total endorsement.”

Driving home the point, the ad’s narrator informs viewers that Mr. Perdue “is the only candidate for governor endorsed by Donald Trump.”

Mr. Perdue entered the race in December, angling for a return to politics after losing his Senate reelection bid to Democrat Jon Ossoff in a runoff race.

Some Republicans and political analysts say Mr. Trump’s stolen election claims depressed GOP turnout, hurting Mr. Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who lost her seat in the runoff to Democrat Raphael Warnock.

Mr. Trump gave Mr. Kemp his “full and total” endorsement in his 2018 run for governor, saying he was “tough on crime, strong on the border and immigration.”

Things changed after Mr. Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, rebutted Mr. Trump’s stolen election claims.

“The Democrats walked all over Brian Kemp,” Mr. Trump said. “He was afraid of Stacey ‘the hoax’ Abrams. Brian Kemp let us down.”

(Ms. Abrams, who lost the 2018 gubernatorial election to Mr. Kemp, was instrumental in boosting Democratic turnout in Georgia in 2020.)

Seeking to make the most of that divide, Mr. Perdue said he would not have certified the vote.

Mr. Kemp, meanwhile, signed last year a bill into law that enacted sweeping changes to the state’s elections.

Republicans said the changes help safeguard elections, while Democrats said it was an attempt to curb access to voting — particularly in communities of color.

Cody Hall, a spokesman for the Kemp campaign, said Mr. Perdue’s business record is out of sync with the Make America Great Again movement.

“While President Trump brought jobs back from overseas, David Perdue made a career outsourcing them to China, Mexico and other countries,” Mr. Hall said. “That’s not America First — that’s David Perdue padding his own wallet on the backs of hardworking Americans.”