David Perdue files paperwork to run in 2022 Georgia US Senate race


(CNN)Former Sen. David Perdue of Georgia filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Monday evening to be a 2022 US Senate candidate, the first step in a potential comeback bid after a bruising loss in a runoff election last month.

Perdue is leaning toward launching another campaign, according to a person familiar with his thinking.

If he does decide to run, Perdue will face Georgia’s Sen. Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Warnock and Jon Ossoff respectively beat Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and Perdue in January, flipping the Senate. The two Democrats were the first elected to the Senate from Georgia in 20 years.

Perdue said in a statement at the time, “Although we won the general election, we came up just short of Georgia’s 50% rule, and now I want to congratulate the Democratic Party and my opponent for this runoff win.”

    “Bonnie and I will continue to pray for our wonderful state and our great country. May God continue to bless Georgia and the United States of America.”

    Perdue, a former CEO of Reebok and Dollar General, won his first Senate race in 2014 and became one of President Donald Trump’s strongest allies in Congress. He ran on delivering aid during the coronavirus pandemic, including billions for hospitals and Congress’ creation of the small business loan Paycheck Protection Program, while warning voters that Ossoff is pushing a “socialist agenda.”

    But he faced intense scrutiny over his multi-million-dollar stock trades made during the pandemic. Perdue said that his advisers made the transactions and pledged that they will no longer trade in individual companies. His campaign also caught flack after he willfully mispronounced Kamala Harris’ name at a rally and for a digital ad showing Ossoff’s nose enlarged, an anti-Semitic trope, that his campaign said was an accident and quickly removed from Facebook.

    He also would not be on the same ballot as Trump, whose deluded insistence he did not lose took away a top message for Perdue and Loeffler: if they were elected, a Republican Senate could be a check on Democratic control in Washington.

    Instead, the senators sided with Trump as he attacked the Republican state officials who oversaw the election. While Perdue wasn’t in office when Congress met to certify the 2020 election, he told Fox News that he sided with the objectors as he spread election fraud misinformation.

      “I’m encouraging my colleagues to object. This is something that the American people demand right now,” Perdue said at the time. “There are huge irregularities in Georgia. They need to be investigated, and they need to be corrected, in my opinion.”

      This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.

      CNN’s Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.