Friday night at a President Donald Trump rally in Macon, Georgia, Republican Senator David Perdue mocked the Democratic Senator and Vice-Presidential candidate Kamala Harris by intentionally mispronouncing her first name.

Perdue referred to Harris as “KAH’-mah-lah? Kah-MAH’-lah? Kamala-mala-mala? I don’t know. Whatever.” The audience laughed.

A spokesperson for Perdue said the first-term senator “didn’t mean anything by it.”

Harris’ political opponents have repeatedly mispronounced her name since she became the first Black woman on a major party ticket, a trend many Democrats say smacks of racism. Her first name is pronounced “KAH’-mah-lah” — or, as she explains in her biography, “‘comma-la,’ like the punctuation mark.”

Harris’ spokesperson, Sabrina Singh, responded to Perdue’s remark in a tweet: “Well that is incredibly racist. Vote him out.” In a second tweet, she wrote, “He has been her Senate colleague for over 3 years. 3. Years. THREE. Do better.”

Casey Black, a spokesperson for Perdue’s campaign, tweeted that the senator “simply mispronounced Sen. Harris’ name.”

Currently, the RealClearPolitics average of recent polling data has suggested Perdue is locked in a dead heat battle against Democratic opponent and investigative journalist Jon Ossoff. The latest Quinnipiac poll has the race at Ossoff with 51% and Perdue with 45%.

In a tweet, Jon Ossoff responded, “My opponent, GOP Sen. David Perdue of anti-Semitic attack ad infamy, just mocked Sen. Harris’ name as “Kamala-mala-mala-whatever” at a Trump rally. We are so much better than this.”

Meanwhile, Raphael Warnock, the other Democrat running to serve out the term of the recently-retired Johnny Isakson in the special election, retweeted and said, “Politicians like David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler seek only to divide us up on racial and political lines. @ossoff and I aren’t going to let them.”
According to the Quinnipiac poll, when it comes to favorability ratings, likely voters have a positive view of Ossoff 46 – 36 percent, and a mixed view of Perdue with 43 percent saying favorable and 46 percent said unfavorable.
Georgia’s Democratic Party demanded that Perdue apologize.

“Senator Perdue’s intentionally disrespectful mispronunciation of Senator Harris’s name is a bigoted and racist tactic straight from President Trump’s handbook,” Nikema Williams, chair of the Georgia Democratic Party, said in a statement. “He owes Georgians an apology for his offensive display.”

Earlier in the day, Ossoff announced he’d raised $21.3 million in the past quarter, the largest quarterly haul for any Senate candidate in the state’s history.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., speaks during a campaign rally for President Donald Trump at Middle Georgia Regional Airport, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, in Macon, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...

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