Republican gubernatorial candidate David Perdue is challenging a new state law that gives incumbents an advantage in fundraising.

The legislation, which the Republican-controlled General Assembly passed last March virtually along party lines, allows Georgia’s governor, lieutenant governor, the general-election nominees opposing those two statewide incumbents and the heads of the majority and minority caucuses in the legislature to create leadership committees that can raise unlimited campaign contributions.

Perdue, who is running against incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp, is barred from forming a leadership committee on his behalf unless and until he wins the GOP gubernatorial primary in May.

A federal lawsuit Perdue filed Thursday argues the U.S. Supreme Court has never upheld a law that imposes different contribution limits on candidates seeking the same office.

“This unconstitutional law was spearheaded by Brian Kemp to protect himself and silence those who seek to challenge him. It reeks of cronyism and corruption,” Perdue said.

“Only a 20-year career politician like Kemp would create an unfair advantage to line his own campaign coffers for his own self-preservation.”

The law’s supporters say it puts incumbents on an even playing field with their challengers by allowing them to raise campaign funds during General Assembly sessions, a practice that had been prohibited under Georgia law.

The ability to conduct fundraising while the legislature is in session has become more important since the primaries were moved forward to May instead of July.

Perdue’s lawsuit only focuses on the governor’s leadership committee. The suit seeks a preliminary injunction to block the legislation to give Perdue an opportunity to make his case.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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