In recent weeks, Perdue has called donors and other allies to float the idea, according to eight people who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential matters. Several of them said he’s “conflicted” about a run, while others say he’s leaning toward a challenge.
Perdue has kept quiet publicly about his plans, and he declined to comment. But he remains close to former President Donald Trump, who encouraged the former U.S. senator to run at a rally in Middle Georgia in September. Trump’s allies also recently leaked polls that show Perdue in a strong position.
One Perdue associate told the AJC:
There are always rumors. The only thing that has changed is a whole lot of people are reaching out and asking David to run, and President Trump is of course very supportive of the idea. Right now, David and Bonnie are enjoying their life, but they are praying about the future and not closing any doors.
A primary battle between Perdue and Kemp could prove bruising for both, with a press representative for the governor suggesting a bid by the former senator would amount to a stab in the back.
“Both the governor and the first lady were honored when Sen. Perdue told them personally that he would fully support their campaign for reelection earlier this year,” Kemp campaign spokesman Tate Mitchell said in a statement to Peach State newspaper.
When reached for comment, the Republican Governors Association (RGA) affirmed that it would support Kemp.
“The RGA supports its Republican incumbents,” a spokesperson said.
In April, former state Rep. Vernon Jones, a Democrat-turned-Republican, launched his campaign to unseat Kemp in the GOP primary. Jones said at the time:
In the midst of a battle that will determine the future of not just Georgia, but the future of America and our great experiment known as Democracy, we need a fighter for Georgia. Vernon Jones will address this need and his future efforts to put Georgia first.
The GOP primary winner could face off against Democrat activist Stacy Abrams, who lost to Kemp for the governor’s mansion in 2018, though she has yet to officially announce her candidacy.