Former Georgia Senator David Perdue has ruled he will not run against incumbent Democrat Senator Raphael Warnock in 2022, just a week after Mr Perdue announced he had tabled documents for a possible new campaign, and just days after a visit President Donald J. Trump.
Mr Perdue, 71, a Republican and former businessman who lost in the January runoff round to the state’s other newly elected senator Jon Ossoff, said in a statement he took the decision after “much prayer and reflection” with his wife. , Bonnie.
Mr Warnock defeated Kelly Loeffler, who was also a Republican incumbent, in January, winning a term that expires in January 2023. The two Republican losses transferred control of the Senate to the Democrats.
There were mixed signals from people close to Mr Perdue that a 2022 campaign was something he cared about compared to something some of his advisers insisted on. In one Publish Tuesday on Twitter, Mr. Perdue called it a “personal decision, not a political one.”
But the announcement came just days after Mr. Perdue made what is now becoming a ritual trip for Republicans – to former President Donald J. Trump’s private club in Florida, for dinner and a long round of golf last Friday. This raised questions among some Republicans about what Mr. Trump had told him during their time together.
The meeting did not go well, those briefed said. Mr Trump was focused on retaliation, especially against Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, and Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia, a Republican whom Mr Trump considers to have betrayed him.
Two Republicans, one in Atlanta and one in Washington, have separately said that Mr. Trump spent much of his conversation with Mr. Perdue to clearly show his determination to topple the governor of Georgia next year. Trying to navigate a feud between the former president and his state’s incumbent governor for the next two years was deeply unpleasant for Mr Perdue, according to a Republican from Georgia who knows the former senator.
One of those briefed on the meeting with Mr Trump said this appeared to be a factor in Mr Perdue’s decision not to show up. But the second person said the most important factor was how potentially exhausting another campaign and possibly six more years in the Senate would be.
Now the question in Georgia is whether the 2022 race will become a 2020 rerun, when Ms Loeffler and former Rep Doug Collins clashed to run against Mr Warnock.
Yet after Ms Loeffler sprinted to the right to fend off Mr Collins, another Trump favorite, it’s unclear whether she would want to lead the same kind of primary. While Mr. Trump has publicly encouraged Mr. Collins to challenge Mr. Kemp, most Republicans in Georgia believe Mr. Collins is more inclined to run for the Senate.
Mr Perdue said he was “confident” that any candidate nominated by the Republicans would beat Mr Warnock, adding: “I will do whatever I can to make it happen.”
A message to Mr Perdue’s spokesperson was not immediately returned.
In his statement on Tuesday, Mr. Perdue echoed Mr. Trump’s false allegations of widespread electoral fraud in the state and called on Republican officials in Georgia to change state laws and electoral rules “so that ‘in the future, every legal voter is treated. and illegal votes will not be included. “
State election officials have repeatedly said the illegal vote has no impact on the outcome of the general election in November or the January run-off.