Former Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) officially launched his bid for Georgia governor on Monday, setting up a showdown against Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) in the GOP primary.
In a video announcing his campaign, Perdue says he is running for governor to ensure that Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams, the former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives who has become a prominent voting rights advocate, doesn’t win.
Perdue then insists that his run against Kemp “isn’t personal,” and describes a version of history in which Kemp “caved” to Abrams by refusing to play along with former President Trump’s bogus claims of election fraud in the battleground state.
“Think about how different it would be today if Kemp had fought Abrams first, instead of fighting Trump. Kemp caved before the election and the country is paying the price today,” Perdue said in the video. “It’s time for a change. If our governor was ever going to fight for us, wouldn’t he have done it already?”
“Let me be very clear — over my dead body will we ever give Stacey Abrams control of our elections again,” Perdue continued.
Organizing efforts by Abrams to expand ballot access and turn out voters have often been credited for Democrats’ recent wins in Georgia, including runoffs in 2021 in which Perdue was defeated and Democrats won effective control of the U.S. Senate.
Perdue is now headed for a primary clash with Kemp, who has become a target of Trump for daring to largely ignore the former president’s bogus claims of a “stolen” 2020 presidential election.
According to Politico, Perdue was tapped by Trump to challenge Kemp as part of the former president’s efforts to have the Georgia governor, along with other Republicans who pushed back on his bogus claims of election fraud, face retribution. Perdue reportedly has discussed getting additional support from Trump, which Politico reported is forthcoming.
However, shortly after Perdue announced his campaign, the former president stopped short of giving him a full endorsement, despite heaping praise onto the former Georgia senator. He also took it as an opportunity to push the Big Lie, preemptively signaling the election would be considered “rigged” if Kemp wins the primary.
“Wow, it looks like highly respected Senator David Perdue will be running against RINO Brian Kemp for Governor of Georgia,” Trump said in a statement. “David was a great Senator, and he truly loves his State and his Country. 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.”
In addition to attacking Kemp in his campaign announcement video, Perdue also took aim at Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who defied Trump’s repeated demands that he “find” votes in the battleground state.
“To fight back, we simply have to be united. Unfortunately, today, we are divided, and Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger are to blame,” Perdue said.