Trump says matchup between Perdue and Kemp will be 'interesting,' stops short of endorsement

Former President Trump praised former Sen. David PerdueDavid PerdueAbrams treads carefully in relationship with Biden Stacey Abrams's shocking snub of Biden, Harris signals possible 2024 aspirations Kemp pads out campaign war chest ahead of tough reelection bid MORE on Monday but stopped short of fully endorsing the Georgia Republican's nascent gubernatorial challenge to Gov. Brian KempBrian KempAbrams treads carefully in relationship with Biden Four states declare states of emergency ahead of weekend snowstorm Stacey Abrams's shocking snub of Biden, Harris signals possible 2024 aspirations MORE (R). 

“Wow, it looks like highly respected Senator David Perdue will be running against RINO [Republican In Name Only] Brian Kemp for Governor of Georgia. David was a great Senator, and he truly loves his State and his Country,” Trump, who had pressed Purdue to primary Kemp, said in a statement.

“This will be very interesting, and I can’t imagine that Brian Kemp, who has hurt election integrity in Georgia so badly, can do well at the ballot box (unless the election is rigged, of course). He cost us two Senate seats and a Presidential victory in the Great State of Georgia.” 

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Purdue’s entry into the gubernatorial race marked a win for Trump, who had long looked for a strong candidate to take on Kemp. 

The first-term governor, who won his seat in 2018, infuriated Trump when he declined to support the former president’s effort to overturn his 2020 loss in Georgia.

The state had not gone for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1992 but backed now-President BidenJoe BidenMadame Tussauds unveils new Biden and Harris figures US raises concerns about Russian troop movements to Belarus Putin tests a model for invading Ukraine, outwitting Biden's diplomats MORE by over 11,000 votes, or about 0.3 percentage points. 

In his campaign announcement, Perdue forecasted that he would hit Kemp over the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“Kemp caved before the election, and the country is paying the price today,” Perdue said in an announcement video.

Perdue, a former one-term senator, lost his seat in a January runoff to now-Sen. Jon OssoffJon OssoffTwo-thirds of Americans support banning lawmakers from trading stocks: poll On the Money — Student borrowers stare down rising prices Top Biden adviser expresses support for ban on congressional stock trades MORE (D-Ga.) earlier this year. Trump was largely blamed for depressing GOP turnout in the race after pointing to unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud to explain his own loss in Georgia in 2020.