By JEFF AMY
ATLANTA (AP) — Former U.S. Sen. David Perdue will challenge Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for governor, he announced Monday, setting up a bitter 2022 Republican primary fight while Democrat Stacey Abrams is likely to await the winner.
Perdue had been flirting with the bid for months, encouraged publicly by former President Donald Trump. His plans were first confirmed Sunday by Politico. Supporters of the 71-year-old former senator who lost his seat to Democrat Jon Ossoff say Perdue can beat Abrams by uniting Republicans, while Kemp can’t hope to turn out Trump’s hard-core believers.
But Kemp is promising an all-out brawl as he tries to win a second term, with Kemp spokesperson Cody Hall saying Perdue is running only to “soothe his own bruised ego” over losing his Senate seat.
Trump has repeatedly targeted Kemp, saying the governor didn’t do enough to overturn President Joe Biden’s electoral victory in Georgia.
Perdue joins a slate of Trump-backed candidates in Georgia Republican primaries, including Herschel Walker running against Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock.
Abrams has no declared opponents on the Democratic side, and some Republicans fear a bitter Perdue-Kemp primary will enable her to win.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.