DUNWOODY, Ga. — Former Senator David Perdue ended his Trump-inspired campaign for governor of Georgia with a racist appeal to Republican primary voters on Monday, accusing Stacey Abrams, the Black woman who’s the presumptive Democratic nominee, of “demeaning her own race” in how she has described the state’s problems.
Talking to an overwhelmingly white crowd, Mr. Perdue trained his ire on Ms. Abrams, who narrowly lost the 2018 governor’s race to Gov. Brian Kemp, the Republican whom Mr. Perdue is vying to unseat in Tuesday’s primary.
Mr. Perdue’s remarks about Ms. Abrams transcended the standard Republican primary campaign fare about stolen elections and accusations of disloyalty to former President Donald J. Trump. In a state where segregationists once demonized civil rights leaders as unwanted interlopers, and where it stays contentious to debate find out how to interpret the nation’s history of slavery and racism, Mr. Perdue forged Ms. Abrams as an outsider in a state that has been her home since highschool.
“Did you all see what Stacey said this weekend?” Mr. Perdue said from the stage. “She said that Georgia is the worst place within the country to live. Hey, she ain’t from here. Let her return to where she got here from. She doesn’t prefer it here.”
Mr. Perdue also injected race right into a 2018 remark Ms. Abrams made about her pledge to create jobs within the renewable energy sector.
“People shouldn’t need to go into agriculture or hospitality to make a living in Georgia,” she said within the closing weeks of her 2018 campaign. “Why not create renewable energy jobs? Because, I’m going to inform y’all a secret: Climate change is real.”
On Monday, Mr. Perdue said: “When she told Black farmers, ‘You don’t have to be on the farm,’ and she or he told Black employees in hospitality and all this, ‘You don’t have to be,’ she is demeaning her own race relating to that. I’m really over this. She should never be considered material for governor of any state, much less our state where she hates to live.”
Mr. Perdue’s remarks got here in response to comments Ms. Abrams made Saturday by which she dismissed Mr. Kemp’s regular line that under his stewardship, Georgia has grow to be one of the best state within the nation to do business.
“I’m uninterested in hearing about being one of the best state within the country to do business once we are the worst state within the country to live,” Ms. Abrams said. She added: “Once you’re No. 48 for mental health, once you’re No. 1 for maternal mortality, when you’ve gotten an incarceration rate that’s on the rise and wages which might be on the decline, then you definately should not the No. 1 place to live.”
After concluding his remarks on Monday, Mr. Perdue ignored questions on his description of Ms. Abrams and his proposition that she was “demeaning” to Black people, and an aide hustled him off.
The Wisconsin-born Ms. Abrams spent most of her early childhood in Mississippi but moved to Georgia in highschool. She graduated from Avondale High School in DeKalb County and Spelman College in Atlanta.
During an interview on MSNBC on Monday evening, Ms. Abrams declined to comment on Mr. Perdue’s remarks.
“No matter which Republican it’s, I actually have yet to listen to them articulate a plan for the long run of Georgia,” she said.
Along along with his comments about Ms. Abrams, Mr. Perdue echoed a series of Mr. Trump’s false claims concerning the 2020 election. Asked if he would accept the outcomes of Tuesday’s primary, Mr. Perdue said it will rely on whether there’s “fraud within the election.”
And he took note of the parade of ambitious Republicans — former Gov. Chris Christie of Recent Jersey, Gov. Pete Ricketts of Nebraska and, on Monday night, former Vice President Mike Pence — swarming the state in the ultimate days before Tuesday’s primary to bask in Mr. Kemp’s expected victory.
“It’s a badge of honor is that they’re bringing all these RINOs into the state to support Kemp,” Mr. Perdue said, referring to Republicans in name only. “It just shows the divide that we now have within the party.”
Mr. Trump, who declined to host an end-of-campaign rally in Georgia to back Mr. Perdue ahead of what polling suggests will probably be a heavy defeat, called into Mr. Perdue’s event by phone. He said he was “very dissatisfied in Mike” and denigrated Mr. Pence and Mr. Christie by saying, “A lot of these guys should not those who we’re so keen on anymore because we love our country.”
Mr. Trump predicted that Mr. Perdue would record a surprise victory on Tuesday.
“You’re one of the best, boss,” the previous senator replied. “Thanks.”
Maya King contributed reporting from Atlanta.