David Perdue

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David Perdue
David Perdue, Official Portrait, 114th Congress.jpg
United States Senator
from Georgia
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Serving with Johnny Isakson
Preceded bySaxby Chambliss
Personal details
David Alfred Perdue Jr.

(1949-12-10) December 10, 1949 (age 69)
Macon, Georgia, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Bonnie Perdue
RelativesSonny Perdue (cousin)
ResidenceSea Island, Georgia
EducationGeorgia Institute of Technology
(BS, MS)
Net worth$15.8 million (2018)[1]
WebsiteSenate website

David Alfred Perdue Jr. (/pərˈd/; born December 10, 1949) is an American businessman and politician serving as the junior United States Senator for Georgia since 2015. He was elected in 2014 to the seat previously held by Saxby Chambliss, who retired. Perdue won the Republican primary and defeated Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn. He is a first cousin of Sonny Perdue, former Governor of Georgia and current United States Secretary of Agriculture.

David Perdue started his business career with more than a decade as a management consultant. In 1992 he became a VP at Sara Lee Corporation. During the next decade, he worked with Haggar Clothing, and Reebok. He was unable to correct problems at Pillowtex, which he joined in 2002, leaving after nine months with a large buyout. Perdue next worked for Dollar General, where he did achieve a turnaround, and later for the Gujarat Heavy Chemicals Ltd. (GHCL), whose interests in India included textile mills. Before entering politics, Perdue set up a global trading firm in Atlanta, Georgia.

With a net worth of $15.8 million, Perdue is one of the wealthiest members of the Senate.[2] He is expected to become the state's senior Senator when Johnny Isakson resigns from the Senate at the end of December 2019.

Early life and education[edit]

David Perdue was born in Macon, Georgia, the son of David Alfred Perdue, Sr., and the former Gervaise Wynn, both schoolteachers.[3][4][5] He was raised in Warner Robins, Georgia.[6][7]

Perdue has a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering (1972) and a master's degree in operations research (1975), both from Georgia Tech.[8][9] At Georgia Tech, Perdue was a brother of the Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity.[10]

He married Bonnie Dunn. The couple now lives in the resort town of Sea Island.[11] The couple have two sons, David A. Perdue III and Blake Perdue, and three grandchildren.[8][11] David Perdue, Jr. is the first cousin of former Georgia governor and current United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.[12]

Business career[edit]

Perdue began his career at Kurt Salmon Associates, an international consulting firm, where he worked for twelve years as a management consultant.[13] His first major corporate job was as senior vice president of Asia operations for Sara Lee Corporation, a position he took in 1992. His time at Sara Lee was followed by a stint at Haggar Clothing, where he became senior vice president of operations in 1994.[14]

In 1998, Perdue joined Reebok as a senior vice president, eventually rising to president and CEO. Perdue is credited with significantly reducing the company's debt and reviving its sneaker line. Perdue negotiated a contract with the National Football League that a former Reebok executive referred to as "revolutionary" for repositioning the company's shoe brand.[4]

In 2002, Perdue left Reebok for Pillowtex, a North Carolina textile company. The company had recently emerged from bankruptcy with a heavy debt load and an underfunded pension liability. Perdue was unable to obtain additional funding from the company's investors and later was unsuccessful in finding a buyer for the company. He left the company in 2003 after nine months on the job and $1.7 million in compensation. Pillowtex closed several months later, leaving 7,650 workers out of work nationwide. With more than 4,000 jobs lost statewide, the closing of Pillowtex resulted in the largest single-day job loss in North Carolina history at the time.[15]

After leaving Pillowtex, Perdue became CEO of Dollar General.[16] Prior to his joining the company, it had recently overstated profits by $100 million and paid $162 million to settle shareholder lawsuits. Perdue overhauled the company's inventory line and logistics network, and updated its marketing strategy. After initially closing hundreds of stores, the company doubled its stock price and opened 2,600 new stores before being sold in 2007 to private equity investors.[4]

From 2007 to 2009, Perdue worked as a senior consultant for Indian chemical and textile conglomerate Gujarat Heavy Chemicals Ltd.[17] In April 2011, Perdue started an Atlanta-based global trading firm[4] with Trey Childress, Heidi Green, and former Georgia governor, Sonny Perdue.[18]

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Perdue is "known on Wall Street as a turnaround specialist who helps revive brands and reap rewards for investors."[4]

U.S. Senate[edit]

Perdue with Neil Gorsuch in 2017
Perdue with Brett Kavanaugh in 2018

2014 Senate campaign[edit]

Perdue touted his business experience, and particularly his experience at Dollar General, in running for political office as a Republican candidate. According to Perdue: "We added about 2,200 stores, created almost 20,000 jobs and doubled the value of that company in a very short period of time. Not because of me, but because we listened to our customers and employees.” He received the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Business.[19]

Perdue's political opponents targeted his business career during the campaign, specifically for outsourcing work offshore. Perdue said he was "proud of" finding lower cost labor for some companies. Critics noted that he had contributed to a total of thousands of jobs lost following the final closure of Pillowtex, while Perdue left the company after nine months with a nearly $2 million buyout.[15][19] After being elected, Perdue stated that he wanted to bring the perspective of "a working person" to Washington, D.C.

The race was considered to be competitive. Perdue won the general election, defeating the Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn 52.89% to 45.21%.[20]

Committee assignments[edit]

Political positions[edit]

Perdue supports policies to achieve energy independence, mentioning on his Senate campaign Facebook page that he was in favor of eliminating the EPA, as well as 'revitalizing' American manufacturing and increasing exports to 'create quality jobs' and for 'long-term economic growth'. Additionally, he supports actions to 'strictly enforce' laws to secure the border; opposes gun control; is a supporter of the State of Israel; opposes Common Core; and opposes same-sex marriage.[21]

In a June 2016 speech to a conference of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Perdue urged the audience to pray for President Obama's "days to be short".[22]

Health care[edit]

He supports repealing and replacing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[23] He opposes abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother.[24]

Term limits[edit]

Perdue has pledged to limit himself to two terms in the Senate (12 years).[25]


In October 2015, Perdue voted in favor of the CISA (Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act), despite strong opposition from major companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter.[26] This is consistent with his record of a "Common Defense," as he also supported the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act).[27]

Climate change[edit]

Perdue was one of 22 senators to sign a letter[28] to President Donald Trump urging him to have the United States withdraw from the Paris Agreement. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Perdue has received over $180,000 from oil, gas and coal interests since 2012.[29]


In 2017, Perdue co-sponsored the RAISE Act, which would implement a points-based system of immigration, similar to that used in Canada and Australia, and would reduce legal immigration by 50% and cap refugee admissions to 50,000 individuals per year.[citation needed] He supports strictly enforcing current immigration laws and preventing illegal entry into the United States.[30]

In June 2019, Perdue defended Trump's decision to place tariffs on Mexico unless illegal immigration from Mexico stopped. Perdue said, "He has to use a hammer. We're being invaded right now."[31]

Republican senator Tom Cotton (left) with president Donald Trump and David Perdue (right).


Perdue is a close ally of President Trump.[32][33] Perdue fought to prevent the Senate from blocking the Chinese telecom firm ZTE from purchasing American components.[34] The Commerce Department had barred ZTE from doing so for seven years after it accused the firm of having deceived US regulators and violated sanctions on Iran and North Korea.[34] In July 2018, Perdue said that he opposed tariffs but that he would support President Trump on his tariff increases.[32]

On January 11, 2018, Senator Perdue attended a meeting at the White House where, according to people with direct knowledge of the conversation, President Trump stated that Haiti, El Salvador and African countries were "shithole nations" and that the United States should not take in immigrants from these countries.[35] Senator Perdue stated that he did not recall these statements by the President.[36][37][38] Perdue was criticized by veteran journalist Tom Brokaw who suggested that the senator should get a hearing aid at Costco.[39] Then on Sunday, January 14, 2018, Senator Perdue stated on ABC's “This Week” that he now remembered that President Trump did not use those words just days after he said he did not recall them.[40]

Prayer for Obama's death[edit]

In June 2016, at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority conference, Perdue led attendees in a prayer that seemed to be a prayer for Obama's death. He said, "we should pray for Barack Obama. But I think we need to be very specific about how we pray. We should pray like Psalms 109:8 says. It says, 'Let his days be few, and let another have his office.'"[41] Perdue did not quote the rest of Psalm 109,[42] which includes the following verses: "8. Let his days be few; and let another take his office./ 9. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow./ 10. Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places./ 11. Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour./ 12. Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children./ 13. Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out." Commentators at the time remarked that it was unusual if not unprecedented for a U.S. Senator to publicly pray for the death of a sitting president. In a statement, Perdue's office clarified, “He in no way wishes harm to our president and everyone in the room understood that,” and accused the media of “pushing a narrative to create controversy.”[43]


Perdue stated in October 2017 that the national debt was the greatest threat to the security of the United States.[44] In December 2017, Perdue voted in favor of the Republican tax plan called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was estimated to increase the national debt one trillion dollars in ten years by slashing individual and corporate tax rates.[45][46][47][48] Perdue voted in favor of the 2017 budget, which was estimated to add as much as $1.5 trillion to deficits over ten years.[49] Perdue said he voted for the budget, because "the $1.5 trillion is an investment to grow the economy."[49]

He supports a constitutional balanced budget amendment and comprehensive tax reform.[50]

In September 2018, Perdue was among six Republican senators, Jeff Flake, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Ben Sasse, and Pat Toomey, as well as Bernie Sanders, that voted against a $854 billion spending bill, meant to avoid a government shutdown. Said bill included funding for the departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor and Education.[51]

Foreign policy[edit]

In April 2018, Perdue was one of eight Republican senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and acting Secretary of State John Sullivan expressing "deep concern" over a report by the United Nations exposing "North Korean sanctions evasion involving Russia and China" and asserting that the findings "demonstrate an elaborate and alarming military-venture between rogue, tyrannical states to avoid United States and international sanctions and inflict terror and death upon thousands of innocent people" while calling it "imperative that the United States provides a swift and appropriate response to the continued use of chemical weapons used by President Assad and his forces, and works to address the shortcomings in sanctions enforcement."[52]

In March 2017, Perdue co-sponsored the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (s. 720), which made it a federal crime for Americans to encourage or participate in boycotts against Israel and Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories if protesting actions by the Israeli government.[53][54]

Constituent relations[edit]

Perdue has not held a town hall during his senatorial tenure. Craig Pigg, a Morningside resident and moveon.org protestor, stated that Perdue says they are "not his style." [55]

Perdue has, however, attended unannounced events in Georgia, typically in support of other Republican candidates such as Brian Kemp (including an event at Georgia Tech, which led to a taped altercation in which he snatched a student's phone away when he was questioning voter registration issues).[56] He has appeared at events requiring paid tickets for attendees.[57]

Electoral history[edit]

U.S. Senate Republican Primary election in Georgia, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican David Perdue 185,466 30.64%
Republican Jack Kingston 156,157 25.80%
Republican Karen Handel 132,944 21.96%
Republican Phil Gingrey 60,735 10.03%
Republican Paul Broun 58,297 9.63%
Republican Derrick Grayson 6,045 1.00%
Republican Arthur "Art" Gardner 5,711 0.94%
U.S. Senate Republican Primary Runoff election in Georgia, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican David Perdue 245,951 50.88%
Republican Jack Kingston 237,448 49.12%
U.S. Senate election in Georgia, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican David Perdue 1,358,088 52.89%
Democratic Michelle Nunn 1,160,811 45.21%
Libertarian Amanda Swafford 48,862 1.90%
Write-in Anantha Reddy Muscu 21 0.00%
Write-in Mary Schroder 14 0.00%
Write-in Brian Russell Brown 9 0.00%


  1. ^ "Ranking the Net Worth of the 115th". Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  2. ^ "Ranking the Net Worth of the 115th". Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  3. ^ "Perdue Campaign Releases New TV Ad: "Georgia Values"". Perdue Senate. October 24, 2014. Archived from the original on October 24, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e Bluestein, Greg (August 8, 2013). "David Perdue's business background looms large in Senate run". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  5. ^ Wynn-Perdue, Gervaise (1984). James A. Perdue and descendants, 1822–1984. G. Wynn-Perdue. ISBN 9780961347406.
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  14. ^ Cassidy, Christina (July 12, 2014). "Perdue touts business record in Georgia Senate bid". Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 16, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
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  16. ^ https://newscenter.dollargeneral.com/news/dollar-general-corporation-names-david-a-perdue-jr-ceo.htm
  17. ^ Cameron Joseph (October 13, 2014). "Perdue cut work in India from bio". Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  18. ^ (April 18, 2011) "Governor Sonny Perdue Launches Perdue Partners, LLC". Business Wire website Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  19. ^ a b Chris Joyner (October 6, 2014). "Perdue 'proud' of outsourcing past, blames Washington for jobs lost". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  20. ^ "David Perdue". Ballotpedia. 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  21. ^ "David Purdue on the Issues". Retrieved March 4, 2017.
  22. ^ Woodruff, Betsie (June 10, 2016). "GOP Senator Jokes About Praying for Obama's Death". The Daily Beast. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  23. ^ Jim Gaines (August 21, 2014). "Nunn, Perdue take different tacks at forum". Ledger-Enquirer. Archived from the original on July 9, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2014.
  24. ^ "Purdue on Abortion" (PDF). April 10, 2014.
  25. ^ "David Perdue on The Issues". Perdue Senate. Archived from the original on February 6, 2014. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
  26. ^ the ridiculous dept (October 22, 2015). "CISA Moves Forward: These 83 Senators Just Voted To Expand Surveillance". techdirt. Retrieved September 22, 2015.
  27. ^ "Senator David Perdue Urges Colleagues to Provide for the Common Defense". October 7, 2015. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  28. ^ Inhofe, James. "Senator". Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  29. ^ "The Republicans who urged Trump to pull out of Paris deal are big oil darlings". The Guardian. June 1, 2017. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
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  31. ^ Bobic, Igor (June 6, 2019). "Republicans Are Twisting Themselves Into Knots Trying To Defend Trump's Tariffs". HuffPost. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  32. ^ a b "'I'd like to kill 'em': GOP takes on Trump tariffs". POLITICO. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
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  34. ^ a b Press, By MATTHEW DALY, Associated (June 18, 2018). "Senate backs bill blocking deal with Chinese telecom firm". CNBC. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  35. ^ Trump Alarms Lawmakers With Disparaging Words for Haiti and Africa. JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, SHERYL GAY STOLBERG and THOMAS KAPLAN. The New York Times, 11 January 2017
  36. ^ https://www.vox.com/2018/1/12/16885312/trump-shithole-countries-denial
  37. ^ Ashley Killough, January 12, 2017, CNN, 2 Republican senators in Trump meeting say they don't recall 'shithole' comment, Retrieved January 13, 2017, "...We do not recall the President saying these comments specifically but what he did call out was the imbalance in our current immigration system,..."
  38. ^ Sean Higgins, January 14, 2017, Washington Examiner, David Perdue: Trump did not make 'shithole countries' comment, Retrieved January 14, 2017, "....Asked repeatedly is the president specifically used the words "shithole country," Perdue, who was present at the meeting, eventually said, "I am telling you that he did not use those words."..."
  39. ^ Geobeats, January 14, 2017, AOL, Tom Brokaw suggests hearing aids for senators who do not recall Trump's 's—-hole' remark, Retrieved January 14, 2017, "...Veteran journalist Tom Brokaw has posted a scathing tweet aimed at Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, who said that they “do not recall” President Trump making the “shithole” remark ..."
  40. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/14/us/politics/david-perdue-trump-shithole.html
  41. ^ https://www.thedailybeast.com/gop-senator-jokes-about-praying-for-obamas-death
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  44. ^ [USA Today, October 5, 2017, article
  45. ^ Tax bill Republicans deal...
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  47. ^ CNN, December 19, 2017, Republican tax plan vote ...
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  52. ^ "Key senators warn Trump of North Korea effort on Syria". The Hill. April 13, 2018.
  53. ^ "Cosponsors - S.720 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Israel Anti-Boycott Act". www.congress.gov. March 23, 2017.
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  55. ^ "Sen. Perdue: I am on the inside of the White House, will use that influence". Dekalb Neighbor. April 12, 2017.
  56. ^ "Senator Snatched Student's Phone While Being Asked About Georgia Voter Registration Uproar". Washington Post. October 14, 2018.
  57. ^ "Have You Seen Him? Senator David Perdue Groups Use Billboards As Call-To-Action". Fox 28. May 1, 2017.

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Cal Turner Jr.
Chief Executive Officer of Dollar General
Succeeded by
Richard Dreiling
Party political offices
Preceded by
Saxby Chambliss
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Georgia
(Class 2)

Most recent
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Saxby Chambliss
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Georgia
Served alongside: Johnny Isakson
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mike Rounds
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Thom Tillis