“After much prayer and reflection, Bonnie and I have decided that we will not participate in the race for the United States Senate in Georgia in 2022,” Perdue said in an email to supporters Tuesday, adding that it is “a personal decision, not political one. ” He gave no further explanation of his decision.
Perdue promised to do “everything” he can to make sure the Republican candidate for the race defeats newly elected incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock, who said later Tuesday that he is “prepared to defeat any Republican that comes to mind.”
Loeffler and former Representative Doug Collins, who lost to Loeffler and Warnock last year, are considering running for Senate again.
Florida Sen. Rick Scott, chairman of the Senate Republican National Committee, told CNN that he spoke with Perdue on Tuesday morning and is “quite disappointed” with his decision.
“He told me it was personal,” Scott said.
A former CEO of Reebok and Dollar General, Perdue won his first Senate race in 2014 and became one of President Donald Trump’s strongest allies in Congress. He continued to deliver aid during the coronavirus pandemic, including billions for hospitals and the creation of the Congressional Small Business Loan Paycheck Protection Program, while warning voters that Ossoff was pushing a “socialist agenda.” .
But Trump’s series of attacks on Kemp and the election officials who oversaw his loss in Georgia removed a potential message for Perdue and Loeffler that they would keep the Senate under Republican control and serve as a brake against the administration of President Joe Biden. Instead, senators joined Trump in opposing certification of the 2020 election, discouraging some would-be undecided voters.
This story has been updated with additional developments on Tuesday.
CNN’s Devan Cole, Manu Raju, and Jeff Zeleny contributed to this report.