David Perdue joins Georgia governor's race, setting up GOP showdown with Kemp

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WASHINGTON — Former Sen. David Perdue is running for governor in Georgia, he announced Monday, setting up a primary showdown with Gov. Brian Kemp in 2022.

Perdue's announcement comes days after voting rights activist Stacey Abrams announced that she would run for the Democratic Party's gubernatorial nomination in Georgia.

In a video announcement, Perdue said that Kemp "has failed all of us and cannot win in November." "I’m running for Governor to make sure Stacey Abrams is NEVER Governor of Georgia," he said in a tweet accompanying the video. "We need bold conservatives who will stand up to the woke left, not cave to their radical demands. Join me in this fight to Stop Stacey and Save Georgia."

Perdue lost his Senate seat to Democrat Jon Ossoff in January runoff elections that also saw Democrat Raphael Warnock best incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler, taking away the GOP's control of the chamber. President Joe Biden also captured Georgia in the 2020 election, the first time a Democrat has won the state since 1992.

The results were widely seen as a rebuke of former President Donald Trump, whose supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in an attempt to stop Congress from counting the Electoral College results.

Trump's ongoing attempts to challenge the 2020 election results overshadowed the runoff elections and some Republicans worried that his attacks on the integrity of the election depressed GOP voter turnout.

The former president, who has blasted Kemp over last November's results in Georgia, endorsed Perdue on Monday.

Trump said in a statement that Perdue was "a Conservative fighter who isn’t afraid of the Radical Left," while characterizing Kemp as "a very weak Governor."

"David Perdue has my Complete and Total Endorsement. He will not let you down!" Trump added.

Perdue, who directly called out Kemp during Monday's video announcement, said: "Look, I like Brian, this isn't personal. It's simple he has failed all of us and cannot win in November."

"Think about how different it would be today if Kemp had fought Abrams first instead of fighting Trump," said Perdue. "Kemp came before the election and the country is paying a price today."

In his announcement, Perdue also criticized Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who has become a target of Trump and his allies after Raffensperger refused to challenge Biden's win.

Scott Hogan, executive director of the Democratic Party of Georgia, said in a statement Monday that Republicans like Kemp and Perdue "have failed Georgians at every level of leadership."

"Georgia Democrats are more fired up than ever before and looking forward to electing a strong Democratic governor for our state in 2022," said Hogan.

Kemp spokesman Cody Hall criticized Perdue in a statement on Sunday following reports of his decision to run for governor.

“The man who lost Republicans the United States Senate," said Hall, "and brought the last year of skyrocketing inflation, open borders, runaway government spending, and woke cancel culture upon the American people."

"Perdue’s only reason for running is to soothe his own bruised ego, because his campaign for U.S Senate failed to inspire voters at the ballot box — twice,” Hall added, previewing a tough campaign ahead.

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