Former Republican Sen. David Perdue officially launched a primary challenge to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Monday, setting up what could be a brutal primary fight in one of the most pivotal swing states in the country.
Perdue, who lost to Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff in a special election in January, turned down a Senate run in February but remained a close ally to former President Donald Trump as he criticized Kemp for refusing to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results. Perdue’s campaign website appeared Sunday as reports confirmed that a Trump-backed primary challenge was imminent.
In an announcement video Monday morning, Perdue said that his challenge against Kemp “isn’t personal” and focused mostly on the need to beat Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams, who announced Wednesday that she would run for governor again.
“[Kemp] has failed all of us and cannot win in November,” Perdue said.
While Perdue’s announcement is welcome news for Trump, who pledged to back a primary challenger against Kemp earlier this year, it could also be good news for Democrats, who stand to benefit from a bruising Republican primary that could hamper both Perdue and Kemp.
Georgia also has a high-profile Senate race in 2022, where Trump-endorsed former NFL star Herschel Walker is the favorite to take on Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, a pastor at Martin Luther King Jr.’s former church who beat former Sen. Kelly Loeffler on the same day Ossoff beat Perdue.
Though Democrats currently face strong political headwinds ahead of 2022, Georgia’s leftward trend in recent years helped President Joe Biden narrowly win the state in 2020 and Democrats capture both of its Senate seats two months later.
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