Former Georgia Sen. David Perdue filed paperwork on Monday with the Federal Election Commission to run for Senate again in 2022, signaling a possible attempt to make a political comeback.
Perdue, who was first elected to the Senate in 2015, lost to Sen. Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, in a Jan. 5 runoff election after neither candidate captured more than 50% of the vote in November 2020's general election.
Democratic Sens. Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock both won their runoff races in January, sending the first all-blue delegation from Georgia to the U.S. Senate in 20 years and flipping the Senate from Republican control.
Ossoff is the first Jewish Senator from Georgia and the first Jewish Senator from the Deep South elected since 1879, and Warnock is the first Black seantor in Georgia's history and the first Black Democrat to represent a Southern state in the Senate.
In a Twitter post Tuesday afternoon, Perdue laid out why he is considering running again in 2022. In his post, he claims that current Senators "do not fairly represent most Georgians" because of the runoff system.
"That was demonstrated in my November general election when we beat the Democrat by almost two points and they didn’t even get 48% of the total vote," he said.
It should be noted that prior to January, statewide runoff elections in Georgia heavily favored Republican candidates.
Perdue also did not mention Ossoff by name in his concession statement, and touted his lead in November's general election: "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."
But Perdue would not be facing Sen. Ossoff in the 2022 race; he would be facing Sen. Warnock, who won a special election against former Sen. Kelly Loeffler to serve out the remainder of former Sen. Johnny Isakson's term. Warnock defeated Loeffler by a larger margin (over 93,000 votes) in the runoff than Ossoff over Perdue (nearly 55,000 votes).
Perdue is the first to file paperwork to enter the race, but the 2022 Republican primary could be a major challenge. Former Rep. Doug Collins, a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump who challenged Loeffler in 2020, has expressed interest in the race, according to Fox News, potentially headlining a large swath of Republican challengers that could include Loeffler herself.
Perdue was one of the former president's major allies in the Senate, but faced backlash over multi-million dollar stock trades during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as mispronouncing Vice President Kamala Harris' name at a Trump rally, and running an ad online that featured a manipulated picture of Ossoff, who is Jewish, with an enlarged nose, an anti-Semitic trope.
A campaign spokesperson called the ad an accident and said that the campaign deleted it: "Obviously, this was accidental, but to ensure there is absolutely no confusion, we have immediately removed the image from Facebook. Anybody who implies that this was anything other than an inadvertent error is intentionally misrepresenting Senator Perdue's strong and consistent record of standing firmly against anti-Semitism and all forms of hate."
Trump’s false claims of voter fraud cast a dark shadow over the runoff elections, which were held only because no candidate hit the 50% threshold in the general election. He raised the prospect of voter fraud as votes were being cast and likened the Republicans who run Georgia’s election system to "chickens with their heads cut off" during a Wednesday rally in Washington.
Gabriel Sterling, a top Georgia election official and a Republican, said there was "no evidence of any irregularities."
Both contests tested whether the political coalition that fueled Biden’s November victory was an anti-Trump anomaly or part of a new electoral landscape. To win in Tuesday’s elections — and in the future — Democrats needed strong African American support.
The coalition closely resembles the one that narrowly handed Georgia’s Electoral College votes to Biden in November, making him the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state in almost three decades.
Turnout exceeded both sides’ expectations. Ultimately, more people cast ballots in the runoffs than voted in Georgia’s 2016 presidential election.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.