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Perdue rules out 2022 Senate bid against Warnock

Former Sen. David PerdueDavid PerdueLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock Georgia Republican secretary of state hits Loeffler as 'weak,' 'fake Trumper' MORE (R-Ga.) on Tuesday ruled out a Senate bid in next year’s midterm elections, somewhat soothing concerns of a potentially contentious Republican primary in 2022. 

In an email to supporters, Perdue said that his decision to forego another Senate campaign was “personal” rather than political. But the announcement came a day after former Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Herschel Walker skips Georgia's GOP convention Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock MORE (R-Ga.) opened the door to a rematch against Sen. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockDemocrats seek new ways to expand Medicaid in holdout states Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal Democrats scramble to unify before election bill brawl MORE (D-Ga.) in 2022.

“After much prayer and reflection, Bonnie and I have decided that we will not enter the race for the United States Senate in Georgia in 2022,” Perdue said. “This is a personal decision, not a political one. 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.” 

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“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’s announcement came just a week after he confirmed that he was mulling a 2022 campaign against Warnock after losing a Jan. 5 runoff election to Sen. Jon OssoffJon OssoffDemocrats seek new ways to expand Medicaid in holdout states Stacey Abrams calls on young voters of color to support election reform bill MLB calls lawsuit over All-Star Game 'political theatrics' MORE (D-Ga.). Warnock also won his seat on Jan. 5 after defeating Loeffler in a simultaneous runoff election. 

With Warnock and Ossoff’s dual victories last month, Democrats gained control of both Georgia Senate seats for the first time in nearly two decades and effectively captured a majority in the upper chamber.

But Perdue wasn’t the only former Republican lawmaker weighing a comeback in 2022. Loeffler told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an interview published on Monday that a rematch with Warnock is “certainly on the table.” 

Former Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock Poll shows tight GOP primary for Georgia governor MORE (R-Ga.), who unsuccessfully challenged Loeffler in 2020, is also said to be considering a run for Warnock’s seat.

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Republicans, however, are eager to avoid a contentious primary in 2022 after a bitter fight between Loeffler and Collins last year that allowed Warnock to go relatively unscathed in the general election. In her interview with the Journal-Constitution, Loeffler warned that a brutal GOP primary would only help Democrats. 

“I appreciate Doug’s service to our country. I appreciate his work in our runoff. I beat Doug by 6 points in the general election,” Loeffler told the newspaper. “But the outcome is what happens when Republicans team up with Democrats to attack other Republicans.”

“It doesn’t end well for Republicans, and it hurt us up and down the ticket,” she added. “My focus is on lessons learned. We need to make sure that together, we’re moving forward, and strengthening our party, not tearing it apart.”