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David Perdue announces he won't run against Raphael Warnock in 2022 Georgia Senate race

Business Insider logo Business Insider 2/23/2021 insider@insider.com (John L. Dorman)
David Perdue holding a sign: Former Sen. David Perdue (R-Georgia). Ethan Miller/Getty Images © Ethan Miller/Getty Images Former Sen. David Perdue (R-Georgia). Ethan Miller/Getty Images
  • Former GOP Sen. David Perdue of Georgia will not run for the Senate in 2022.
  • Just days ago, Perdue filed paperwork to explore a potential candidacy.
  • Perdue lost his reelection bid to Democrat Jon Ossoff in last month's Senate runoff elections.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Former GOP Sen. David Perdue of Georgia announced on Tuesday that he would not be a candidate for the Senate in 2022, just days after filing paperwork to explore a potential candidacy.

Perdue, who lost his reelection bid to Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff last month after a bruising Senate runoff election, would have faced Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, who defeated former GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a runoff special election to fill the remaining term of former GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson.

In a letter to supporters, Perdue expressed confidence that Republicans would win the Senate seat back.

"This is a personal decision, not a political one," he wrote. "I am confident that whoever wins the Republican Primary next year will defeat the Democrat[ic] candidate in the General election for this seat, and I will do everything I can to make that happen."

He added: "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 also alluding to the proposed GOP-backed voting restrictions that are currently moving through the state legislature in response to the wave of Democratic statewide victories.

Last November, President Joe Biden became the first Democratic presidential nominee to win the state since 1992,  which led to a monthslong pressure campaign by former President Donald Trump to overturn the election results and widespread claims of voter fraud among GOP activists.

"I am hopeful that the Georgia General Assembly, along with our statewide elected officials, will correct the inequities in our state laws and election rules so that, in the future, every legal voter will be treated equally and illegal votes will not be included," he stated. "I will do everything I can to be helpful in this effort."

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Perdue visited Trump in Florida last week, eating and playing a round of golf with him, but the outing reportedly "did not go well," as the the former president was focused on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, GOP Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, and "retribution."

According to The Times, a source close to Perdue indicated that the former senator and his wife "couldn't get comfortable with another campaign."

As the party looks to the 2022 cycle, which could feature a possible rematch between Kemp and 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, Perdue's move is a big decision for the Georgia GOP as it seeks to rebuild.

In 2022, Warnock will be running for his first full term, which presents an opening for potential opponents like former GOP Rep. Doug Collins, Loeffler, or a range of other GOP officials.

The wins by Warnock and Ossoff created a Senate split 50-50 between both parties and allowed Democrats to regain control by virtue of Vice President Kamala Harris's tiebreaking vote.

In the November election, Perdue earned more votes than Ossoff, leading by a 49.7% to 48% margin, but was forced into a runoff election due to the state's unique electoral system. In accordance with Georgia law, the winner of any statewide election must earn at least 50% of the vote or the contest heads to a runoff.

Last month, Ossoff defeated Perdue by a 50.6% to 49.4% margin on the strength of support in the Atlanta metropolitan region and from the state's growing minority groups, especially among Black voters.

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