Tea Party Patriots endorses Perdue for Georgia Senate

Tea Party Patriots Citizen Fund is endorsing businessman David Perdue (R) for Georgia Senate, overlooking conservative dissatisfaction with the candidate because the state could be key to control of the Senate.

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In a release shared first with The Hill, Tea Party Patriots President Jenny Beth Martin says that Perdue is "the clear choice, and there's too much at stake."

"If this red Senate seat goes blue, the path to a majority gets a lot steeper and narrower. [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid [D-Nev.] would likely keep his job and his nuclear option."

Martin calls on the conservative grassroots in Georgia "not just to vote for [Perdue], but to knock on doors for him.

"Make phone calls. Drive a friend to the polls. These midterm elections are so critical to the future of the Republic, and it's time for Georgians to answer the call," she says.

Polling has shown Perdue locked in a tight battle for the seat with Democrat Michelle Nunn, who has posted a slim, statistically insignificant lead in the past four public surveys. The race is expected to head to a January runoff, but in either scenario, turnout will be key, and Perdue will need conservatives to head to the polls and help him get out the vote.

Republicans need to pick up six Democratic seats to take the majority in the Senate, if they retain all three of the Republican seats where Democrats are on offense, including Georgia.

The endorsement is the latest indicator the Tea Party, once staunchly at odds with the establishment wing of the Republican Party, is coming around to working with their former foes in order to win back the Senate.

Conservatives have long expressed wariness of Perdue for his support of the financial bailout and support for health care reform at the federal level, and Georgia Tea Party groups backed Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) over him in the primary runoff.

But Martin previously told The Hill that conservatives were willing to overlook their dissatisfaction with specific candidates for the greater good of flipping the upper chamber.

“Our members have told us that right now, having a Republican-controlled Senate and firing Harry Reid are their top priority,” she said.

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