Former Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) announced Tuesday he will not run for U.S. Senate in Georgia, a decision that impacts the field of potential Republican candidates who will vie to unseat Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) in 2022.
Perdue, a businessman and former one-term senator, made headlines last week after he filed for candidacy with the Federal Election Commission, saying at the time that he and his wife were mulling over “how to best serve the people of Georgia” and that he was considering another bid for office.
Perdue said in a statement Tuesday about his decision that “after much prayer and reflection,” he has decided not to run and that his decision was personal, not political.
“I am confident that whoever wins the Republican Primary next year will defeat the Democrat candidate in the General election for this seat, and I will do everything I can to make that happen,” he said:
— David Perdue (@Perduesenate) February 23, 2021
Perdue also insisted Georgia is not a blue state despite the shocking Republican losses in the November general election — in which former President Donald Trump lost by a razor-thin margin of about 12,000 votes to now-President Joe Biden — and in the January runoffs, in which Perdue and former Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) experienced painful losses for the GOP that resulted in the party relinquishing its Senate majority.
“As we saw in my race in November, Georgia is not a blue state. The more Georgians that vote, the better Republicans do. These two current liberal US Senators do not represent the values of a majority of Georgians,” Perdue said in his statement.
The Georgia Republican in the 2020 general election edged out his opponent, now-Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA), by 1.8 percent, or about 88,000 votes, but he was forced into the runoff race after just barely missing the 50 percent mark, by 0.3 percent, that he needed to win outright.
In the subsequent runoff, Perdue lost to Ossoff by 55,000 votes, or 1.2 percent, out of 4.5 million votes cast.
Perdue would have posed an ominous challenge to other Republicans interested in running, and his decision clears the way for the other prominent names being floated as contenders. One possible candidate is former Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), who competed last year in the state’s jungle primary for Senate and finished that race in a strong third place with 20 percent of the vote to Loeffler’s 26 percent and Warnock’s 33 percent.
Loeffler is another potential candidate, though on Monday she announced the launch of a nonprofit she is investing in called Greater Georgia aimed at voter registration and restoring election integrity, a massive pursuit on its own as the group will compete with Stacey Abrams’ fundraising giant Fair Fight.
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