Georgia Republican Perdue Will not Seek Senate Return in 2022

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
David Perdue during his reelection in Milton, Georgia. (December 21, 2020.REUTERS/Al Drago/File Photo)

Former Republican U.S. Senator David Perdue, who lost his seat last month in a hotly contested run-off election, said on Tuesday he will not run again in 2022 against newly-elected Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock.

The 71-year-old former businessman ruled out a comeback only a week after he filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission and said he was considering another run for the Senate.

“This is a personal decision, not a political one,” Perdue said in a statement on Twitter. “I am confident that whoever wins the Republican primary next year will defeat the Democratic candidate in the general election for this seat.”

Perdue lost to Democratic Senator Jon Ossoff on the same day that fellow Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler was defeated by Warnock, allowing Democrats to take control of the Senate for the first time since 2015.

The two Democratic Senate victories capped a seismic political shift in Georgia, a long-time Republican stronghold that Democratic President Joe Biden won in November over former President Donald Trump.

The 2020 campaign in Georgia also saw the election of hard-right Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who had espoused the QAnon conspiracy theory.

On Tuesday, Perdue dismissed Democratic victories as anomalies, saying: “Georgia is not a blue state. The more Georgians that vote, the better Republicans do.”

Warnock’s special election victory over Loeffler allowed him to fill the remainder of former Republican Senator Johnny Isakson’s term, requiring him to face reelection in 2022. Ossoff won a full six-year term by ousting Perdue, who had been elected to the Senate in 2014.

Loeffler is considering a 2022 rematch with Warnock. So is former Republican Representative Doug Collins, who also ran for the senate in Georgia’s November election that preceded the final January showdown between Warnock and Loeffler.

“I am prepared to defeat whatever Republican they come up with,” Warnock told reporters at the U.S. Capitol.