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

Former President Trump praised former Sen. David Perdue on Monday but stopped short of fully endorsing the Georgia Republican's nascent gubernatorial challenge to Gov. Brian Kemp (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." 

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 Biden 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 Ossoff (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.