Kingston, Perdue on the attack

Monday, July 14, 2014 7:40 AM
Last updated 7:48 PM
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ATLANTA -- The candidates in the Republican Senate runoff sprinted out their final debate Sunday by blasting each other over ethics and the Savannah port.

  ERICA TECHO/ Morris News Service
ERICA TECHO/ Morris News Service

Jack Kingston accused David Perdue of lining his pockets while taking an appointment from his cousin to the Georgia Ports Authority board. And Perdue warned that Kingston’s connection to a Palestinian businessman awaiting deportation for a federal conviction will wind up being a messy scandal in the middle of the general election against Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn.

Aired statewide by Georgia Public Broadcasting, the debate was organized by the Atlanta Press Club. One of the journalists on a panel questioning the candidates noted how nasty the campaign had been and that neither brought up substantive issue differences between them. They responded by slinging more mud.

Regarding the Ports Authority, Kingston bragged that he had been pushing the deepening of the Savannah River channel to accommodate bigger freighters in hopes of spurring more jobs. He said Perdue never signed a statement required by state ethics laws ensuring that there was no conflict of interest between the authority and a trucking company Perdue owns with his cousin, the former-governor.

“You made millions of dollars in spending decisions on there and didn’t sign a disclosure. Are we to believe that you did that and your trucking company did not benefit from your select position?” Kingston asked.

Perdue didn’t directly respond. Instead, he hammered Kingston about the $80,000 in campaign donations collected by the Palestinian -- subsequently returned -- which have now become the subject of a federal investigation.

“It’s pretty obvious, if you have money and you want to buy a favor or influence, Jack Kingston’s open for business,” Perdue said.

Kingston has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, saying the FBI has told him he is not the subject of the investigation.

The Ports Authority’s biggest project also became an issue between them. Perdue said the 17 years Kingston has been pushing the project for federal approval is nothing to crow about.

“In the real world, you would have been fired for that kind of performance. Now you want a promotion,” Perdue said.

Kingston told reporters after the debate there was a reason Perdue did not lobby for the harbor deepening or even sign a letter in favor of it.

“He wants to lecture me on why the harbor deepening wasn’t done faster,” Kingston said. “Well, perhaps because as a board member, he was chasing his own interest rather than the interests of the people of Georgia. ... Where was my opponent? He was a member of the Georgia Ports Authority, doing business, lining his own pockets.”

It was the most hostile personal confrontation between the two men, although they and well-heeled political action committees have been airing the same charges in television ads for weeks. Both predicted they would be turning out their supporters and would come out ahead when the votes are counted July 22.

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myfather15 07/14/14 - 09:37 am
Elections issues are very important!!

That's very clear!! We the People NEED the TRUE information to make our decisions on who to vote for!!

"Kingston has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, saying the FBI has told him he is not the subject of the investigation."

Is this true? How can we find out if this is true or not? If they're NOT investigating Kingston, shouldn't Purdue be held responsible for this lie?

Also, I've heard many of the constant radio commercials from these two. In one commercial, Purdue claims Kingston has voted SEVEN times to increase his own pay!! In response, Kingston's radio commercial states he has NEVER voted to increase his pay!!!

Which one is true?? How do we find out? The bottom line is that one of them HAS to be a lie!! They both CAN NOT be true and we need to find out which person is lying; because that person would NEVER get my vote!!

Is it not possible, to make it a criminal offense to blatantly lie during a campaign?? I personally believe it should be made a FELONY with serious prison time, to get caught lying during a campaign. Why? Because it's IMPORTANT!! I'm tired of being lied to by ANY political figure!! We need TRUTH, restored to this Country!!

Seems this is what we get with EVERY election, during my lifetime. A bunch of "You did this" and "No, I didn't" from both sides!!

What we don't get is ANY clear truth!! Seems all we can do is guess who is lying and who isn't!! We need to give them SEVERE consequences, when they are caught lying about a political opponent!! Maybe this will cause them to run more on THEIR credentials, instead of attacking the other!! Maybe it will cause them to think twice or more, about even running!! Because if you can't STAND on YOUR record, and all you plan to do is attack your opponent, maybe you SHOULDN'T being running to begin with!!

A bunch of lying children is what we're getting as representatives!! That, is very sad!!

Walter Jones
Walter Jones 07/14/14 - 11:21 am
@MyFather 15, the

@MyFather 15, the complication of modern life is that both can claim some degree of truth in their statements.

Regarding the donations that Kingston returned, federal investigators will not tell reporters what they are working on or even if there is a probe of any kind. All we know is that Kingston said they told him the investigation is into the actions of the Palestinian businessman, not the candidate.

Regarding the pay-raise votes, they were parliamentary votes on big bills with many provisions rather than a straightforward proposal just to raise pay. Perdue argues that Kingston voted the way he did because he knew the ultimate goal was to stop an automatic pay raise. But Kingston and the other congressmen who voted in the majority may have had other reasons for their votes on a procedural motion relating to these complex bills. Kingston can say he never voted to increase his pay.

These allegations ascribe motivates rather than dealing with established facts. That leaves a lot of interpretation up to the voter, which is what makes them so frustrating.

myfather15 07/14/14 - 12:58 pm
Thank you Walter

I appreciate that response. Just reaffirms the confusion going on in this crazy world!! Seems we seriously need to limit the voting to one issue at a time. We need to simplify the government, period; but good luck getting THEM to do so!! I believe they like having the people confused!! It's to incumbents benefit!!

billcass 07/14/14 - 06:50 pm

I am a long time conservative republican, and I will abstain from this election. Neither of these men have told me why I should vote for them. All they tell me is lies and innuendos about the other guy. Michelle Nunn is looking better every day.

avidreader 07/15/14 - 09:53 am
To billcass

"Michelle Nunn is looking better every day."

I am also a Republican, but I cannot support either of these two fools. It's so sad that the election process is mired in such garbage. No one can convince me that Kingston and Perdue are truly public servants.

I'll support Nunn, just like in the last round when I chose Barrow over Anderson.

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