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Video: Republican Brian Kemp takes helm as Georgia governor

Former secretary of state won a hard-fought race over Democrat Stacey Abrams


Video from WXIA-TV via YouTube

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue picked as Trump’s agriculture chief

Perdue advised Trump on agricultural issues during presidential campaign

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

georgia mugWASHINGTON (CFP) — Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, a veterinarian by training who grew up on a family farm, has been nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to be the nation’s next agriculture secretary.

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue

The selection of Perdue, announced a day before Trump’s inauguration on January 19, rounds out the new president’s cabinet.

“From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, (Perdue) has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face,” Trump said in a statement announcing Perdue’s selection. “He is going to deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land.”

In the same statement, Perdue said “making sure Americans who make their livelihood in the agriculture industry are thriving is near and dear to my heart.”

“I’m going to champion the concerns of American agriculture and work tirelessly to solve the issues facing our farm families in this new role,” he said.

If confirmed by the Senate, Purdue will oversee the sprawling U.S. Department of Agriculture, with more than 100,000 employees and a $140 billion budget. In addition to farm programs, the department also oversees food safety, national forests and the food stamp program that provides nutritional assistance to more than 40 million low-income Americans.

Perdue’s selection will present an unusual wrinkle in the Senate confirmation process, as one of the senators who will consider his nomination, U.S. Senator David Perdue, is Sonny Perdue’s first cousin.

Perdue, 70, served two terms as Georgia governor. His election in 2002 marked the first time a Republican had won the state’s chief executive post since Reconstruction, ending 130 years of Democratic dominance.

Perdue grew up on a farm in Houston County in central Georgia. During the presidential campaign, he had been a member of Trump’s agricultural advisory council.

Polls: Georgia’s races for U.S. Senate and governor appear headed for runoffs

None of the major candidates in either race is above the 50 percent threshold required for a win under the state’s unique election law

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

georgia mugATLANTA (CFP) — Races for U.S. Senator and governor in Georgia appear heading for December runoffs, thanks to close races, support for third-party Libertarians and the Peach State’s unique requirement of general election runoffs if no candidate wins a majority on election day.

A runoff could leave control of the Senate hanging in the balance until January 6 if Georgia’s race is needed to decide the balance of power.

Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn

Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn

Recent polling in the Senate race between Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue shows both candidates neck-and-neck within the margin of error but short of 50 percent.

The Libertarian candidate Amanda Swafford, a lawyer and former city councilwoman in Flowery Branch, is polling between 3 and 6 percent – enough to cause a runoff if the battle between Perdue and Nunn is close.

Likewise, in the race for governor, the Republican incumbent, Governor Nathan Deal, and his Democratic challenger, State Senator Jason Carter, are within the margin of error but below 50 percent, with Libertarian Andrew Hunt, an Atlanta technology executive, polling at about 5 percent.

Governor Nathan Deal

Governor Nathan Deal

Georgia is the only state in the union that has a general election runoff. The runoff for governor would be December 2, but the runoff for Senate would not happen until January 6.

Louisiana has a slightly different system in which candidates from all parties run in a primary in November, with a runoff set for December 6 if no candidate gets a majority.

The U.S. Senate race in Louisiana also appears to be heading for a runoff, with recent polls showing both incumbent U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu and her GOP challenger, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, polling in the low to mid 40s.

In the Georgia Senate race, Nunn and Perdue, both political newcomers, are seeking the seat of retiring Republican U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss. Nunn is the daughter of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, while Perdue is a cousin of former Governor Sonny Perdue.

In the governor’s race, Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, has run a surprisingly strong campaign against Deal, who is seeking a second term as the state’s chief executive after serving more than 17 years in Congress.

Deal’s prospects for re-election may have been harmed by the state’s sluggish response to a January snowstorm that paralyzed metro Atlanta.

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