Kingston, Perdue in Augusta before Tuesday runoff

Each landing private jets in Augusta during last-minute fly-arounds Monday, Jack Kingston and David Perdue did their best to distinguish themselves for Republican voters ahead of the Tuesday primary runoff for U.S. Senate.

Kingston arrived with former Georgia secretary of state and senate candidate Karen Handel, who touted Kingston’s ability to defeat Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn in November, as well as his experience. Kingston has represented the Savannah area in Congress since 1993.

“We don’t need a johnny-come-lately or someone who’s going to need on-the-job training; we need someone with the kind of experience Jack Kingston brings, so he can hit the ground running to be able to get things done for Georgia and this country,” Handel said.

Kingston said his priorities in the Senate include getting a seat on the Senate Armed Services committee, preserving jobs at Aiken County’s MOX nuclear waste disposal plant and otherwise “grow and expand and create more jobs and opportunities.”

Kingston cited his career representing the Savannah area as how he’d be better able to defeat Nunn in November.

“I’ve done it being a solid conservative, but I do engage with others on all kinds of issues,” he said.

Arriving with former Georgia Republican Party chairman Alec Poitevint, Perdue touted his business experience and a lack of experience in Washington in a call to allow him a maximum of two terms to “make a difference in this debt crisis.”

“I’m running against a man that’s got 22 years’ experience in Congress, and if he were going to make a difference, wouldn’t he have done it already?”

Perdue took a moment to distinguish himself from his cousin, former Gov. Sonny Perdue, who didn’t enjoy the same popularity with Augusta voters as he did elsewhere in the state. Many Augustans believed Sonny Perdue was behind an effort to move Medical College of Georgia to Athens.

Perdue won 30.6 percent of the statewide vote May 20, more than Kingston’s 25.8 percent.

While Perdue won Richmond and nearby Jefferson counties May 20, Kingston carried Columbia and Burke.

“The second thing is I’ve got 42 years in business experience,” Perdue said. “That’s not my cousin that’s running for the Senate; I’m running for the Senate. I’ve got a totally different background and I got in here for a different reason ... but you know this race is bigger than that, it’s bigger than me. It’s all about the crisis in Washington.”

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