Published Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Perdue: Senate ‘not in my heart’

By WALTER C. JONES

Morris News Service

ATLANTA – Former Gov. Sonny Perdue released a statement early Tuesday that he has decided not to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated next year by fellow Republican Saxby Chambliss.

Despite a poll released Monday showing Georgia’s first Republican governor in modern history as the frontrunner, Perdue said he had too many “positive distractions” in his life since leaving office three years ago.

“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,” he said. “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?”

Chambliss and Perdue both ran successfully for statewide office in 2002 after the Democrats who controlled state government at the time drew them into districts with fellow GOP incumbents. Chambliss was a congressman and Perdue a state senator at the time. Each was later re-elected, but the state constitution limits governors to two, four-year terms while U.S. senators may serve an unlimited number of six-year terms.

Perdue is not a stranger to the national stage. He chaired the Republican Governors Association where he raised record sums for its campaign account and helped recruit Republicans to run for governor in other states. 

While Perdue may not be running, most observers think there’ll be no shortage of candidates. Several Republican congressmen have said they are considering it as well as past and current constitutional officers.

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Here is the complete statement issued at 6:15 a.m. Tuesday from ex-Gov. Sonny Perdue:

"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.”

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