The former GOP senator won’t try to rejoin the chamber next year after losing his seat in a close runoff race last month.
(CN) — A week after David Perdue announced he would explore running against Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock in the 2022 midterm elections, the former Republican senator from Georgia said Tuesday he will stay out of the race.
“This is a personal decision, not a political one,” Perdue said in a statement. “I am confident that whoever wins the Republican primary next year will defeat the Democrat candidate in the general election for this seat, and I will do everything I can to make that happen.”
Perdue, who filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission on Feb. 15, helped fuel early talk about him running in the midterm elections.
His race against Democratic Senator Jon Ossoff was one of the last contests decided in the 2020 elections and caused Democrats to take a slender majority in the upper chamber. Democrats’ narrow win was credited to demographic shifts and organizing in Georgia.
Because neither Perdue nor Ossoff won more than 50% of the vote during the November election, the race advanced to a runoff election in January, where Ossoff beat the Republican incumbent 50.28% to 49.72%.
Georgia’s special election to fill the seat of former Republican Senator Johnny Isakson, who resigned in the middle of his term for health reasons, was ultimately filled by Warnock during another runoff election last month. That seat is once again in play in 2022.
Perdue’s decision not to run comes a day after Kelly Loeffler, the appointed Republican incumbent who lost to Warnock, announced she was starting a voter registration group named Greater Georgia.
In his statement, Perdue blamed poor turnout as the reason for his loss and called for the Georgia Legislature to change the state’s election law.
“As we saw in my race in November, Georgia is not a blue state,” Perdue said. “The more Georgians that vote, the better Republicans do. These two current liberal U.S. senators do not represent the values of a majority of Georgians.”
Perdue entered politics in 2014, positioning himself as an outsider with CEO experience at companies such as Dollar General, where he faced questions over his move to briefly privatize the company.
He also served on the board of Georgia Ports Authority, a position he was appointed to in 2010 by his cousin, Georgia’s then-Governor Sonny Perdue.