Republican Senate candidate David Perdue (R) knocked former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel's (R) education background — or lack thereof — in comments that could be used by opponents to paint him as an elitist.

"I mean, there's a high school graduate in this race, OK? I'm sorry, but these issues are so much broader, so complex," he said at a GOP event in January, according to footage obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"There's only one candidate in this race that's ever lived outside the United States. How can you bring value to a debate about the economy unless you have any understanding about the free enterprise system and how — what it takes to compete in the global economy?"

Perdue, a self-funding billionaire former CEO of Reebok and Dollar General, has been using his fundraising edge to air ads that have boosted him in the polls against his four opponents. The comments could hurt him with more populist voters in the polls, both in the primary and general election.

Handel's campaign fired back.

"It is disappointing that David would demean someone who — by no fault of her own — moved out of an abusive home at age 17, and with her own hard work and determination, is the embodiment of the American Dream," Handel Campaign Manager Corry Bliss told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"While David boasts about all the time he spent living in Europe and Asia, and all of the millions of dollars he intends to spend on this race, this election is about who conservatives can relate to and trust to get results in the United States Senate."