POLITICS
07/23/2014 03:24 pm ET Updated Jul 23, 2014

David Perdue Scoffs At Michelle Nunn's Experience Running Major Nonprofit

ASSOCIATED PRESS

David Perdue won the Georgia Republican Senate primary over Rep. Jack Kingston Tuesday night, surprising many national Republicans after polls showed the congressman leading in recent weeks.

Perdue pitched himself as a businessman not beholden to Washington interests whose success in the private sector could help get Congress in shape. He continued that theme Tuesday night after his win, while belittling the executive experience of Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn.

"With my business career, I will prosecute the failed record of the last six years of [President] Barack Obama," Perdue told supporters in his victory speech. "This fall, we're going to have a clear choice."

Perdue took his swipe at Nunn in a comment cited by the Associated Press, downplaying her work as CEO of Points of Light, the foundation launched by former President George H.W. Bush to promote volunteerism.

"Now you've got two outsiders talking about Washington, and now you get down to the issues," Perdue said. "Let's talk about debt, the economy and jobs and who brings more value to that debate. Someone who has been running a philanthropy for 15 years or whatever, or someone who has been out here, not to go bragging, competing in the real world?"

Perdue is the former CEO of Dollar General, Reebok and the failed textile firm Pillowtex. (He is not related to the Perdue Chicken people.)

Although Nunn's background isn't in business, as head of Points of Light, she ran a massive organization.

It coordinates 250,000 service projects annually and had 4 million volunteers in 2012, according to the most recent yearly review on its site. According to the organization, the economic value of the work generated by those volunteers amounts to $635 million.

Nunn has emphasized this experience during her campaign, making it the focus of her first ad in which she mentioned Bush.

Perdue's success in the business community may come in handy during the general election because he may be able to use his personal fortune to supplement his campaign. He spent more than $3 million of his own money during his primary campaign to defeat Kingston.

Kingston and Perdue were the top two vote-getters in the May Republican primary. But since neither secured a majority of the vote, it went to a runoff.

Perdue's wealth could also backfire if voters perceive him to be out-of-touch with their daily concerns. During the primary, Perdue came under criticism when he mocked one of his then-opponents, Karen Handel, for not having a college degree.

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