David Perdue joins Georgia governor's race, setting up GOP showdown with Kemp

Teaganne Finn
Senator David Perdue (R-GA) speaks during a campaign event as he runs for reelection at the Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub, in Milton, Georgia, December 21, 2020.
Al Drago | Reuters

WASHINGTON — Former Sen. David Perdue is running for governor in Georgia, he announced Monday, setting up a primary showdown with Gov. Brian Kemp in 2022.

Perdue's announcement comes days after voting rights activist Stacey Abrams announced that she would run for the Democratic Party's gubernatorial nomination in Georgia.

In a video announcement, Perdue said that Kemp "has failed all of us and cannot win in November." He also criticized Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who has become a target of supporters of former President Donald Trump.

"I'm running for Governor to make sure Stacey Abrams is NEVER Governor of Georgia," he said in a tweet accompanying the video. "We need bold conservatives who will stand up to the woke left, not cave to their radical demands. Join me in this fight to Stop Stacey and Save Georgia."

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Perdue lost his Senate seat to Democrat Jon Ossoff in January runoff elections that also saw Democrat Raphael Warnock best incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler, taking away the GOP's control of the chamber. President Joe Biden also captured Georgia in the 2020 election, the first time a Democrat has won the state since 1992.

The results were widely seen as a rebuke of Trump, whose supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in an attempt to stop Congress from counting the Electoral College results.

Trump's ongoing attempts to challenge the election results overshadowed the runoff elections and some Republicans worried that his attacks on the integrity of the election had depressed GOP voter turnout in Georgia.

Kemp spokesman Cody Hall criticized Perdue in a statement on Sunday following reports of his decision to run for governor.

"The man who lost Republicans the United States Senate," said Hall, "and brought the last year of skyrocketing inflation, open borders, runaway government spending, and woke cancel culture upon the American people."

"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," Hall added, previewing a tough campaign ahead.