RUTLEDGE, Ga. — The race for governor took an unlikely turn over the proposed electric truck plant east of Atlanta.
Former Senator David Perdue said the Rivian plant is a "bad idea." Governor Brian Kemp’s office negotiated the deal– described as the state’s largest-ever economic development package.
Perdue is a former Fortune 500 CEO who is now clobbering a plan that backers said will provide 7,500 jobs just east of metro Atlanta.
Perdue wants to dislodge the Republican gubernatorial nomination from Kemp, holding a rally near the Rivian plant site, where he took aim at one of Kemp’s cornerstone accomplishments.
"Many members of the local community have expressed major concerns with having California-based, Soros-funded Rivian in their backyards," Perdue said in a statement. "Like a typical 20-year career politician, Kemp is ignoring locals' concerns and trying to cut them out of the process."
The Rivian plant would transform 2,000 acres of mostly rolling farmland into Georgia’s largest-ever state-backed economic development site – assembling electric trucks. Kemp’s campaign spokesman called Perdue’s opposition “sad.”
"It is unfortunate that he's choosing to play politics with 7,500 jobs, $5 billion worth of investment in the local community," Kemp's campaign communications director Cody Hall said.
Perdue said Kemp should have scuttled the project when he learned the company is backed by George Soros – a 91-year-old billionaire backer of Democrats, portrayed as a villain by conservatives for years.
Perdue has the backing of some neighbors of the plant – who are angry that Kemp helped hatch the project without the input of local residents, many of whom vocally oppose the plant. The state took control over the property a few days ago, bypassing local zoning input while creating committees that will weigh in on the project.
"Through the creation of these committees, they're going to be actively seeking local input on all these different issues that the local communities have raised concerns about," Hall said.
David Perdue’s cousin, former Governor Sonny Perdue, also approved an auto plant with state backing in West Point. David Perdue said Tuesday that he would approve similar projects if local residents had more input before the deal was struck.