Originally published at: https://www.oann.com/ex-u-s-senator-perdue-takes-on-georgia-governor-and-trump-target-kemp/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ex-u-s-senator-perdue-takes-on-georgia-governor-and-trump-target-kemp

December 6, 2021

By Jason Lange and David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Former U.S. Senator David Perdue launched a bid for Georgia governor on Monday, challenging fellow Republican Governor Brian Kemp and deepening an intra-party rift driven by former President Donald Trump ahead of two critical elections in 2022.

Whichever Republican wins the party’s nomination, they will likely face voting rights activist Stacey Abrams https://www.reuters.com/world/us/stacey-abrams-announces-run-governor-state-georgia-again-2021-12-01, a Democrat who said last week she would make a second run for governor in the election battleground state.

“I’m running for governor to make sure Stacey Abrams is never the governor of Georgia,” Perdue said in a 2-1/2 minute video that labeled Kemp as incapable of defeating Abrams, despite his narrow victory over her in 2018.

“Look, I like Brian. This isn’t personal. It’s simple. He has failed all of us and cannot win in November,” Perdue said.

Democratic President Joe Biden narrowly won Georgia in the 2020 presidential contest. Trump’s false claims about election fraud have been blamed for dividing Georgia Republicans before a pair of U.S. Senate run-off elections in January, which handed Democrats their current Senate majority.

Georgia will host two more big elections next year, one for the governorship and another for the Senate seat held by Democrat Raphael Warnock, who faces a possible 2022 match-up against Republican Herschel Walker, a retired NFL star who has Trump’s backing.

Perdue, a 71-year-old businessman, narrowly lost his Senate seat to Democrat Jon Ossoff in January.

There was no immediate response from Kemp. Ahead of Monday’s announcement, a Kemp campaign spokesman blasted Perdue as “the man who lost Republicans the United States Senate.”

But Perdue blamed Republican Party divisions on Kemp and state Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who both refused to block the state’s presidential election results that added to Biden’s victory.

“To fight back, we simply have to be united,” said Perdue, claiming that Kemp “caved” to Abrams on the 2020 election.

“Think about how different it would be today, if Kemp had fought Abrams first instead of fighting Trump,” he said.

“Instead of protecting our elections, he caved to Abrams and cost us two Senate seats, the Senate majority, and gave Joe Biden free rein,” Perdue said.

Trump later used the same criticism in a statement that said Kemp “hurt election integrity in Georgia so badly” and suggested that a Kemp victory would mean a “rigged” election. “David was a great Senator, and he truly loves his State and his Country. This will be very interesting,” Trump said.

Kemp had already drawn the lingering ire of Trump, who predicted last week that his own supporters would not vote for Kemp “after what he did” with the election.

Multiple recounts and investigations upheld the state’s election results, despite the false claims of fraud by Trump and some other Republicans.

(Reporting by Jason Lange and David Morgan; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Grant McCool)