- Republican Sen. David Perdue was filmed apparently taking a cellphone from a college student at the Georgia Institute of Technology on Saturday.
- Perdue was on campus to endorse Georgia secretary of state Brian Kemp for governor.
- Georgia Tech’s Young Democratic Socialists of America chapter uploaded video of the incident.
Republican Sen. David Perdue was filmed apparently taking a cellphone from a college student who was questioning him about voter suppression in Georgia.
Georgia Institute of Technology’s Young Democratic Socialists of America chapter uploaded video of the incident while Perdue was on campus to endorse Georgia secretary of state Brian Kemp for governor.
Kemp is running against Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams, and he drew criticism last week after the Associated Press reported that his office had frozen 53,000 voter registrations ahead of November’s midterm election.
More than 70% of the frozen registrations were linked to African Americans.
Today @sendavidperdue visited Tech to campaign for Kemp. A student tried asking a simple question about @BrianKempGA 's racist scheme to threaten voter registrations from black people, but before he could even finish the question, Perdue stole his phone. pic.twitter.com/K0iffU57Di
— YDSA Georgia Tech (@YDSAGT) October 13, 2018
It’s abhorrent that when our members ask their senators about the purging of voters within their state, they respond by stealing their phones, dismissing dissent, and ultimately prove that curbing of democracy is how they make capital stay in power https://t.co/pCoRFAFAdh
— YDSA (@YDSA_) October 13, 2018
Abrams accused Kemp of using his office to “suppress the vote for political gain.” Kemp has denied the allegation.
Perdue, a US senator from Georgia, declined to answer questions about alleged voter suppression when he was approached by students at Georgia Tech on Saturday.
In video of the incident, a student started to ask about his support for Kemp, saying, “Hey, so, uh, how can you endorse a candidate…”
But before he could answer his question, Perdue appeared to grab the student’s phone and said, “I’m not doing that.”
“You stole my property,” the student said. “Give me my phone back, senator.”
Perdue later hands the phone back to the student and walks away from the camera.
The senator’s office later said the incident was a “misunderstanding.”
Perdue’s spokeswoman, Casey Black, said in a statement to The Washington Post that the senator “clearly thought he was being asked to take a picture, and went to take a selfie as he often does.”
“When he realized they didn’t actually want to take a picture, he gave the phone back,” Black said.