A source close to Mr Perude denied that the meeting between the pair was related to his decision not to run again, but said the meeting at Mar-a-Lago “did not go well”, according to the New York Times.
Maggie Haberman, Washington correspondent for the New York Times, wrote on Tuesday that “Perdue had dinner with and played a long round of golf with Trump last week. It did not go well.”
“The person close to Perdue says ultimately he and his wife couldn’t get comfortable with another campaign”, she added.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) February 23, 2021Perdue had dinner with and played a long round of golf with Trump last week. It did not go well. Two ppl briefed on the meetings said Trump was very focused on McConnell and Kemp and retribution. One person close to Perdue says that wasn’t related to his decision.
Mr Perdue said on Tuesday that the decision was “personal” rather than “political”, in a statement that was sent to his supporters, and seen by WSBTV.
“After much prayer and reflection, Bonnie and I have decided that we will not enter the race for the United States Senate in Georgia in 2022,” Mr Perdue wrote in the statement, referencing his wife.
“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,” Mr Perdue added.
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He suggested as recently as last week he would run again in 2022, when the Senate seat won by Raphael Warnock on 5 January is up for election. Mr Perdue lost to Jon Ossoff, in the other Senate runoff election that was held on 5 January.
The decision by Mr Perdue sets-up a potential rematch for Mr Warnock and Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed by Georgia governor Brian Kemp in 2019 after Senator Johnny Isakson stood down, and served as a senator for little more than a year before losing the seat.
Ms Loeffler told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday that a second campaign was “certainly on the table,” but that no decision had been made.
That comes as the Republican party remains divided over its future direction, with the former president reportedly telling Mr Perdue last week that he wanted “retribution” for criticism voiced by Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, the New York Times reported.
Mr McConnell, unlike several Trump allies in Congress, has reportedly refused to meet the former president at Mar-a-Lago, in a rift that could set-up a behind the scenes power struggle for the 2022 midterms and 2024 elections.
Mr McConnell lost his title as Senate majority leader following the 2020 election and the two senatorial runoff races in Georgia in January, which ceded control of the upper chamber of Congress to Democrats.
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