For The Record

Perdue challenges Kemp, upending Georgia’s race for governor

By: - December 6, 2021 11:38 am

Former U.S. Sen. David Perdue – who held one of the two seats flipped by Democrats in January – announced his campaign for governor in a video Monday morning. Screenshot of announcement video

Former Georgia U.S. Senator and Trump ally David Perdue has now publicly declared he will challenge Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, setting the stage for a messy – and expensive – race for governor next year.

Perdue – who held one of the two seats flipped by Democrats in January – announced his campaign in a video Monday morning, simultaneously attacking Democrat Stacey Abrams and blasting Kemp and GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Abrams, who lost to Kemp in 2018 by about 55,000 votes, announced last week that she would run again for governor.

“Look, I like Brian,” Perdue says in the video. “This isn’t personal. It’s simple. He has failed all of us and cannot win in November. Instead of protecting our elections, he caved to Abrams and cost us two Senate seats, the Senate Majority and gave Joe Biden free rein.”

Perdue lost his bid for a second term to now-Sen. Jon Ossoff by about 55,000 votes. Republicans also lost the other seat, once held by Sen. Johnny Isakson, after Sen. Raphael Warnock ousted Kelly Loeffler.

Kemp earlier broke from former President Donald Trump when he appointed Loeffler over Trump’s preferred candidate, former Congressman Doug Collins.

But the former president has been a frequent and harsh critic of Kemp since the governor refused to help Trump overturn last year’s presidential election results in Georgia. President Joe Biden narrowly won Georgia by less than 12,000 votes.

Perdue’s announcement has been expected. When Kemp was asked about it last week, he noted Perdue’s previous endorsement of him and touted his own record on the economy in spite of the pandemic. “If somebody else is going to have to run, you’d simply have to ask him why?”

His campaign lashed back in sharper terms after Perdue announced his candidacy.

“The man who lost Republicans the United States Senate and brought the last year of skyrocketing inflation, open borders, runaway government spending, and woke cancel culture upon the American people now wants to lose the Georgia governor’s office to the national face of the radical left movement,” Kemp’s campaign spokesman Cody Hall said in a statement.

“Perdue’s only reason for running is to soothe his own bruised ego, because his campaign for U.S. Senate failed to inspire voters at the ballot box – twice. Governor Kemp has a proven track record of fighting the radical left to put hardworking Georgians first, while Perdue is best known for ducking debates, padding his stock portfolio during a pandemic, and losing winnable races.”

Here’s how Abrams’ campaign responded to the news:

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Jill Nolin
Jill Nolin

Jill Nolin has spent nearly 15 years reporting on state and local government in four states, focusing on policy and political stories and tracking public spending. She has spent the last five years chasing stories in the halls of Georgia’s Gold Dome, earning recognition for her work showing the impact of rising opioid addiction on the state’s rural communities. She is a graduate of Troy University.