Sen. Doug Jones described Giles Perkins as playing a calming, disciplined role in the campaign to compare him to Yoda,…
Sen. Doug Jones described Giles Perkins as playing a calming, disciplined role in the campaign to compare him to Yoda, the wise Jedi champion in Star Wars movies. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Giles Perkins, who served as senator Doug Jones (D Ala.) Campaign chairman during his special special election victory 2017, died Sunday night after fighting pancreatic cancer.  Perkins, 51, died peacefully in his home in Birmingham surrounded by family and close friends, including senator.  Story Continue During
Perkins was one of the main forces behind the Jones Alabama Senate campaign last year, helping raise Jones from an afterthought for a national cause and turn the first Republican Congress seat, Trump Administration. Perkins and colleagues Jones senior counselor Doug T urner were those who convinced Jones to run in the 2017 Special.
“I think Giles was the architect ,” Jones said on Monday. “We had so many who contributed, but if there was an architect who would monitor the project, it was really Giles.”
Perkins was chemotherapy during Jones’s historic victory against Republican Roy Moore in 2017. Jones described his friend playing a calming, disciplined role in the campaign, comparing him to Yoda, the wise Jedi master of the Star Wars films. The campaign was appealing for decades of Perkin’s efforts to choose South Democrats during a tough stretch of the party. After Jones’s earnings, Perkin’s other Democrats helped in tough Southern competitions and afforded promotions, including Mike Espy’s 2018 Senate effort in Mississippi.
“He knew what you had to move to get South voters,” said the former Democratic National Committee Chairman, Howard Dean, who knew Perkins for years. “In many ways, Doug Jones’s choice is a big tribute to Giles.”
Perkins was born in Lufkin, Texas and grew up in a family involved in local politics and law. He was a fourth-generation lawyer, a graduate of Southern Methodist University before receiving his legal degree from Washington and Lee University, where he was also a college president president.
Perkins built his adult life in Birmingham, Alabama. He married Hillery Head, CEO of Ram Tool and Supply, and raised three children while working in state democratic politics, rooted in a desire to fight inequality and racial segregation.
Perkins served as a re-election campaigner for Richard Arrington Jr. , the first black mayor in Birmingham, 1995, and was the Executive Director of the Alabama Party from 1997 to 1999. He held elected representatives in the state, including two councils.  Perkins was also a candidate for office, driving unsuccessfully to the Advocate General in 2010 – with Jones as his campaign manager.
Joe Trippi, a democratic consultant who worked with Perkins on Jones’ campaign, reminded Perkins one night of drinks how he managed to be on every call and in each campaign strategy meeting and fight against cancer. Chemotherapy would suffice to kill most people, Trippi said.
“I’ll never forget it because he looked up at me and said it was because he wanted to show his children how to live,” said Trippi, his voice cracking. “And what helps Jones to be chosen was the best way to do it.”