Former Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), only a “former” for about a month and a half, is taking the first steps to get himself back inside the upper chamber.
Perdue filed Monday as a candidate for the Senate seat currently held by Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) that will come open in 2022. Warnock is filling the last leg of what would have been Sen. Johnny Isakson’s (R-GA) term — Isakson retired due to health problems in 2019, with three years left. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) was first appointed to fill the seat by Governor Brian Kemp (R), but lost to Warnock in the January runoff.
Perdue, meanwhile, lost his regularly scheduled reelection to Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) by just over a point.
But Perdue aides told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his filing shouldn’t be taken as a statement of intent: he’s still weighing his options, they said, planning to decide by March and announce in April if he does run.
The former senator had limited visibility on the campaign trail against Ossoff, both voluntary and not. After Ossoff hammered him in a debate clip gone viral, Perdue flatly refused to attend any further debates against his opponent. Then, towards the end of the race, he was forced off the trail after possibly being exposed to someone infected with COVID-19.
Perdue waited a couple of days to concede after hinting that he might contest the results, which ended up outside of the recount margin. He ultimately conceded without a fight, though declined to name Ossoff is his concession statement. Ossoff’s campaign told TPM that Perdue didn’t call to congratulate Ossoff, or give him the heads up that he was conceding.
Still recovering from an advertising and campaign blitz over the last few months, Georgians will likely be bombarded again in the run-up to 2022. Along with the Senate seat, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is up for reelection again, setting up a possible rematch with Stacey Abrams if she decides to run. Trump, who nurses a special hatred of Kemp after the governor didn’t help him steal the state’s election results, has already threatened that he plans to jump in and campaign against Kemp’s interests.
Warnock’s 2020 performance indicates that whoever takes him on next year will have their work cut out for them: he easily dispensed with Loeffler by over 93,000 votes, a significant enough cushion that his race was called in the very early morning after polls closed. The historic nature of his candidacy likely juiced some of that turnout: he has become Georgia’s first ever Black senator.