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U.S. Senate candidates make last pitches to area voters

Jack Kingston, David Perdue attempt to woo voters before today's Republican primary

U.S. Senate Republican candidate Jack Kingston says his voting record is public knowledge and asked Monday why challenger David Perdue was running away from his business record. The two men will square off in today’s crowded Republican Senate primary. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

U.S. Senate Republican candidate Jack Kingston says his voting record is public knowledge and asked Monday why challenger David Perdue was running away from his business record. The two men will square off in today’s crowded Republican Senate primary. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

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U.S. Senate Republican candidate David Perdue, with his wife Bonnie at his side, made a brief stop at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport Monday, where he urged voters who are unhappy with the way things are going in Washington to vote for him during today’s primary. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

ALBANY — Rival Republican U.S. Senate candidates Jack Kingston and political newcomer David Perdue made brief stops at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport Monday, as both made a final push for votes prior to today’s primary.

Kingston, a U.S. representative representing Georgia District 1, Perdue, a businessman and cousin of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Purdue, and former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel are locked in an acrimonious battle for the Senate seat being vacated by outgoing Sen. Saxy Chambliss of Moultrie.

“We are grateful for the support we’ve been getting from south Georgia,” Perdue, who was introduced to a group of supporters by the former governor, said. “We are telling the voters of the state of Georgia if they are unhappy with the way things are going in Washington, then give us a chance.”

If elected to replace Chambliss, Perdue, the wealthy former CEO of Dollar General, said his first priority would be the economy.

“We have to get the economy moving again and get back to the Reagan ways. I also want us to take a hard look at term limits,” he said.

Kingston, who was making his second trip to Albany in the past month, stressed his south Georgia roots.

“I know south Georgia well,” Kingston, who has been a member of the U.S. House since 1993, said. “You can ask Dougherty Commission Chair (Jeff) Bodine Sinyard and he’d tell you I am the only Georgian running for the U.S. Senate who can find Booger Bottom without using a map.”

Kingston said he understood the importance of agriculture to the state and especially to the farmers of South Georgia.

“I am the only Republican candidate for the Senate who lives south of I-20, the only one. I am the right and only candidate for south Georgia.” Kingston said. “Agriculture is a $76 billion industry in Georgia. Our state’s economy was built on the bounty of our fields. That is why I have been a strong advocate for farm families and for policies that protect our safe and abundant food supply throughout my public service.”

He then took a swipe at recent attack ads launched against him my his opponents.

“We stood by quietly as long as we could in the face of attack ads by Perdue and Handel,” Kingston said. “My voting record is public, but (Perdue) doesn’t talk about how he led a 48-year-old company into bankruptcy and took a huge bonus on his way out of the door. I’m not running from my voting record and he should not be running from his business record.”

Perdue pointed to Kingston as an example of the “career politicians” who help stagger the nation’s economy.

“We all know who is to blame for the terrible results from Washington,” Perdue said. “Career politicians created the economic and debt crisis we are in right now. That’s why the approval rating of Congress is 10 percent, the lowest it’s been in the 70 years that Gallop has tracked their rating. Yet, we re-elect the same people 92 percent of the time of the time.

“We need to change that.”