Sonny Perdue won’t seek Georgia Senate seat

January 29, 2013

The top potential Republican contender for the open Senate seat in Georgia won't run.

Two-term former governor Sonny Perdue (R) has announced he will not seek the seat being vacated by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R).

"While I am flattered by friends from across Georgia who contacted me this weekend and offered their support, running for the U.S. Senate is not in my heart. I am at a stage in life where there are simply too many positive distractions – a dozen grandchildren with number 13 on the way, business obligations and a loving and devoted wife who has absolutely no interest in living in Washington, and who could blame her?" Perdue said in a statement.

Perdue's exit, while not all that surprising, opens things up quite a bit. While the popular former governor's entry might have scared away some other contenders, there is now no clear frontrunner for the job.

Most of the state's GOP House delegation is looking at running, and we should expect at least a couple of them to make the jump, along with others like former secretary of state Karen Handel.

Here is Perdue's full statement:

"Our country deserves more than the current dysfunction in Washington D.C. and our party needs to return to problem solving conservatism. We have an opportunity, led by the examples of Republican governors across the nation, to prove to the country that we are the party that can rise above the dogma and intransigence that dominates political discourse today. We need members of Congress who will stop playing political games and get to the business of addressing our real challenges, just as we have done here in Georgia. Here, we balanced our budget, made government more efficient and did more with less, while Washington continues on its blinding pace to do less with more.

While I am flattered by friends from across Georgia who contacted me this weekend and offered their support, running for the U.S. Senate is not in my heart. I am at a stage in life where there are simply too many positive distractions – a dozen grandchildren with number 13 on the way, business obligations and a loving and devoted wife who has absolutely no interest in living in Washington, and who could blame her?

I will, however, be watching with interest.  After having worked with and recruited governors across our nation, I’ve seen first-hand the type of leaders our party can produce.  Georgia Republicans need to seek the same from our next senator: a serious person capable of thoughtful leadership at a time when, too often, positions of outside interests are substituted for sound policy and the wishes of actual voters.  As Republicans, we have the advantage of being right; let us not squander it.  As voting citizens, we should look closely at those running and trust the candidate that we elect, recognizing we will never agree with every decision he or she will make.  I look forward to supporting the candidate who is focused on policy and solutions, and who is ready to get to work.”

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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