Defeated GOP senator accused of insider trading wants a 2022 comeback

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David Perdue did not get the message sent by the Georgia electorate.

A month after losing reelection to one Georgia Senate seat, Republican David Perdue filed to run for the other seat in 2022.

The former senator submitted paperwork to the Federal Election Commission on Monday evening to legally establish himself as a candidate for next year's election. A top adviser told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday that he was "leaning heavily toward" running again and will make a decision by the end of the month.

A self-proclaimed "outsider" elected to the Senate in 2014, Perdue failed to get a majority in his November election. He and investigative journalist Jon Ossoff (D) faced off again in a Jan. 5 runoff election; Ossoff prevailed by a 2,269,923 to 2,214,979 majority.

Perdue, who entered that race as a well-funded favorite, came under fire throughout the campaign for his ethics, bigotry, and poor handling of the pandemic.

After senators received a private briefing on the impending COVID-19 pandemic last March, Perdue made numerous stock trades. Perdue repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and federal investigations into allegations of insider trading were closed without charges. He also drew criticism for other alleged financial scandals and for changing his story about who was managing his investments.

In July, he took down an antisemitic Facebook ad that depicted Ossoff, who is Jewish, with a manipulated larger nose. Perdue's team dismissed this as an "unintentional error" by an unnamed outside vendor.

At an October rally, Perdue mocked his then-Senate colleague Kamala Harris for her name, intentionally mispronouncing it as "Kah-ma-la, or Kah-mah-la, or Kamala-mala-mala, I don't know, whatever." A spokesperson then pretended this racist slur was an inadvertent error.

In November, he ran another campaign ad invoking racist and antisemitic tropes, trying to scare voters with images of Jewish politicians and people of color. "If they're in charge, America will never be the same," a narrator warned. "Believe them when they tell you what they're going to do. Stop them before it's too late. Save America. Donate now."

Perdue also helped to obstruct pandemic relief funding, backed a rushed reopening, bragged about the "huge crowd" at a rally as coronavirus cases spiked in his state, and defended Donald Trump's botched COVID-19 response, claiming he "absolutely" believed Trump did everything possible to protect Georgians from the virus.

After a clip of Ossoff attacking Perdue at an October debate as a "crook" who is "attacking the health of" his constituents went viral, Perdue refused to take part in subsequent debates. Ossoff instead debated an empty lectern he said was standing in for his "coward" of an opponent.

After losing, Perdue released a terse concession statement falsely claiming that he had "won the general election," but not the runoff. He declined to even congratulate Ossoff by name, conceding only to "the Democratic Party and my opponent."

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) defeated then-Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) in a separate runoff on the same day as Perdue's loss.

Though Warnock, a pastor and the first Black person ever to represent Georgia in the Senate, won by an even larger margin than Ossoff to win the final two years of an unexpired Senate term, he must face voters again next November to win a full term.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.