Perdue mulling primary challenge against Kemp in Georgia: report

Aaron Schwartz

Former Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) is mulling a potential primary challenge to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, raising the possibility of a bitter intra-party brawl between two GOP heavyweights.

Speculation has swirled for months that Perdue could mount a bid for the governor’s mansion. He ruled out a 2022 campaign against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) in February, but has maintained a regular presence at grassroots events in Georgia and recently met with former President Donald Trump, who has vowed to campaign against Kemp next year.

But according to the AJC, Perdue has gotten more serious about a campaign for governor in recent weeks, calling donors and allies to run the idea past them. 

Perdue left Washington earlier this year after narrowly losing a January runoff election to Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.). That defeat, combined with former Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s (R-Ga.) loss to Warnock in a separate runoff, helped hand Democrats control of the Senate. 

If Perdue ultimately decides to challenge Kemp for the GOP nomination next year, it would almost certainly set off a divisive primary that would garner intense national attention.

Once a supporter of Kemp, Trump turned on the Georgia governor late last year after Kemp refused his pleas to overturn Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election — something that Kemp did not have the legal authority to do. 

Since then, Trump has pledged to use his political influence to oust Kemp next year. While a few Republicans have already jumped into the primary against the Georgia governor, Trump hasn’t endorsed anyone in the race. 

If Perdue runs, however, he would likely secure Trump’s endorsement. The former president sees him as an ally and even appeared to encourage him to run during a rally in Georgia in September. 

“Are you running for governor, David?” Trump asked during the rally, pointing to Perdue. “Did I hear he’s running?”

So far, no Democrat has entered the race for Georgia governor, though the party’s 2018 nominee Stacey Abrams is widely expected to do so. 

Tags 2022 midterm elections Brian Kemp David Perdue Donald Trump Georgia governor Georgia politics Jon Ossoff Kelly Loeffler Raphael Warnock
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