ATLANTA - Georgia Democratic nominee Jon Ossoff says he raised $1 million after his opponent, Republican Sen. David Perdue, mocked vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris by repeatedly mispronouncing her name at a rally for President Donald Trump.
Perdue was wrapping up his remarks at an event in Macon Friday when he 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.”
On Twitter Saturday night, Ossoff called Perdue's remarks "bigoted mockery" and announced his campaign raised $1 million in the period after the event.
Harris’ political opponents have repeatedly mispronounced her name since she became the first Black woman and first person of South Asian descent on a national ticket. Democrats say the mispronunciations smack of racism. Her first name is pronounced “KAH’-mah-lah” — or, as she explains in her biography, “‘comma-la,’ like the punctuation mark.”
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are among the top Republicans who have repeatedly mispronounced it. A few Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, have said it incorrectly, too.
Casey Black, a spokesperson for Perdue’s campaign, tweeted that the senator “simply mispronounced Sen. Harris’ name.”
“He didn’t mean anything by it,” Black wrote. “He was making an argument against the radical socialist agenda that she & her endorsed candidate Jon Ossoff are pushing.”
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.”
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.