David Perdue, the one-time U.S. senator from Georgia who lost a run-off election to Senator Jon Ossoff last month, filed paperwork Monday night, suggesting he is planning a comeback attempt – this time against Georgia’s second new senator, Raphael Warnock.
Mr. Perdue, a former businessman who first ran for office as an outsider and later became one of former President Donald Trump’s closest allies in the Senate, submitted documents to the Federal Election Commission to set up a Campaign Committee “Perdue for Senate”.
The move, first reported by Fox News, was seen as a first step in the Republican Party’s efforts to try to regain one of the Senate seats lost in Georgia’s historic January 5 runoff election.
Mr. Warnock and Mr. Ossoff won in these outflows – not only the first time a Democrat had won a Georgia Senate seat since 2000, but also a victory that gave Democrats control of the Senate. The two parties each have 50 seats in the hall, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the uninterrupted vote.
Mr. Perdue’s loss for Mr. Ossoff followed a bitter campaign, and it ended with Mr. Perdue was forced off the trail after a coronavirus exposure. An election night in the state of Mr. Trump could not ignite sufficient Republican turnout, leaving questions as to whether it was depressed by Trump’s repeated allegations of electoral fraud there.
Mr. Ossoff received 50.6 percent of the vote to 49.4 percent for Mr Perdue, who waited two days to admit, leading to speculation that he might be able to contest the result.
Mr. Warnock triumphed over Senator Kelly Loeffler in their runoff, 51 percent to 49 percent. The two participated in a special election to fill a six-year term; the winner of the 2022 Senate race earns a full term.
Georgia was already set to be one of the biggest hubs for the 2022 election with a highly controversial race for governor that could include a rematch between Republican incumbent Brian Kemp and his 2018 Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams. Mrs Abrams narrowly lost this race, but went on to lead a suffrage organization that was instrumental in registering and mobilizing Democrats who helped make Georgia blue for President Biden and Mr Warnock and Mr Ossoff. Mrs Abrams has not said whether she will fight for governor again.
Sir. Trump has already strongly stated that he plans to get involved in the Georgia election in 2022: he has been sharply critical of Mr Kemp as well as the state secretary of state and lieutenant governor for not supporting his false allegations of election fraud in Georgia and wishes, that they lose if they run for re-election.
Given Mr Perdue’s ties with Mr Trump, it is possible that the former president may be a presence fighting for Mr Perdue and against Mr Kemp next year.
Yet it is not entirely clear that a Republican Senate candidate should welcome Mr. Trump’s future assistance.
Georgia’s political operator and commentator Bill Crane said on Monday that the former president’s performance on behalf of the two Republicans appeared to have worked against them in January – with Republican turnout depressed in the two congressional districts where Trump fought.
Sir. Crane, who has worked for both Republican and Democratic candidates, said he would not be surprised if Mr Perdue ran against Mr Warnock given the close results in his January run, adding that Mr Perdue should win change its strategy.
“He would have to speak occasionally to women, non-affiliated, libertarian and more centrist voters, not just the Republican Party base,” Mr Crane said.
Working in Mr. Perdue’s favor is a significant war chest – about $ 5 million left from his campaign available for a race in 2022, according to a federal election report.
Neither Mr Warnock, ending a term left by former Senator Johnny Isakson, a Republican, nor Mr Ossoff’s offices responded immediately to requests for comment. Spokesmen for Mr. Perdue and the Republican Party of Georgia were also inaccessible.
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