Perdue to primary Kemp in Georgia governor's race as Republicans and Trump wage war over 'big lie'

·Senior Editor
·3 min read

Just days after Democrat Stacey Abrams announced she was running for governor in her home state of Georgia, former Republican Sen. David Perdue declared Monday that he would mount a primary challenge against incumbent GOP Gov. Brian Kemp.

To face off against Abrams, Perdue, who lost his Senate seat to Democrat Jon Ossoff in a close January runoff election, must first defeat Kemp. In his campaign announcement video, Perdue blamed Kemp for his loss to Ossoff as well as for former President Donald Trump's loss to Joe Biden.

Sen. David Perdue
Then-Sen. David Perdue campaigning in Milton, Ga., Dec. 21, 2020. (Al Drago/Reuters)

"Instead of protecting our elections, he [Kemp] caved to Abrams and cost us two Senate seats, the Senate majority and gave Biden free rein," Perdue said with the Cody Martin composition "Dreaming of Unity" playing in the background. "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's analysis is dubious in several respects. Abrams did not seek office in the 2020 election. Instead, she helped mobilize Democratic voters to secure wins in two critical U.S. Senate runoff elections that gave control of the U.S. Senate to her party. While Biden's win over Trump in Georgia helped secure his Electoral College win, the opposite result in the state would not have tipped the contest in Trump's favor.

Last year, Kemp refused Trump's request to convene a special legislative session to overturn the results of the presidential election in Georgia, saying the "judicial system remains the only viable — and quickest — option in disputing the results of the November 3rd election."

Trump and his lawyers lost legal challenges before the Georgia Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court, Fulton County Superior Court, the Northern District of Georgia federal court and the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to have the 2020 election results in Georgia overturned. Court challenges brought to try to overturn the results in other states where Trump lost have been found to be without merit, and no credible evidence of widespread election fraud has yet to be presented.

Still, Perdue and Trump continue to portray their losses as the result of fraud, and Trump quickly threw his support behind the former Republican senator.

"Wow, it looks like highly respected Senator David Perdue will be running against Rino Brian Kemp for Governor of Georgia," Trump said in a written 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."

Perdue's announcement video also previewed how the Republican Party will mobilize against Abrams in what is expected to be one of the most high-profile races in the country in 2022.

“I'm running for governor to make sure that Stacey Abrams is never governor of Georgia. Make no mistake, Abrams will smile, lie and cheat to transform Georgia into her radical vision of a state that will look more like California or New York,” Perdue said, adding, “Over my dead body will we ever give Stacey Abrams control of our elections again.”

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