A majority of Georgia’s Republican state senators sent former Sen. David Perdue a letter to request that he not enter the 2022 gubernatorial race before he launched his campaign, Axios reported.
“Our GOP and state must be unified behind our governor with a positive message to keep Georgia conservative and moving forward,” 25 of the state Senate’s 34 Republicans told Perdue in the letter obtained by Axios. They said that he “made us proud” during his tenure in Congress but said victory in November was more important.
Despite the letter, Perdue announced he would challenge incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp on Dec. 6. Former President Trump has criticized Kemp for not helping to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in the state in the 2020 election.
Thirty-one state senators had already endorsed Kemp in September, Axios reported. Perdue acknowledged he received the request when asked, but he said it did not factor into his decision to run.
“It was kind of funny that they thought it might,” he told Axios. “This is what career politicians do.”
“They think that endorsements among each other can elbow an outsider out of a race,” Perdue said. “People who vote don’t care about that. You know who cares about that? Career politicians.”
State Sen. John Albers, who signed the letter, called that characterization “concerning and wholly inaccurate” because “most have been in office less than Perdue.”
Democratic Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff beat Perdue in a runoff for his Senate seat in January. His victory, alongside Sen. Raphael Warnock’s triumph over former Sen. Kelly Loeffler, gave Democrats a narrow 50-50 majority in the Senate.
Perdue said his decision to run “isn’t personal” but does not believe Kemp can win without Trump’s support. Trump endorsed Perdue, who said he would not have certified Georgia’s election results had he been governor, despite the lack of evidence of widespread voter fraud, after the announcement, The Hill reported.
Former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost to Kemp in the 2018 election, launched another campaign for governor a few days before Perdue made his announcement.
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