Former President Donald Trump praised former Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., on Monday for taking on Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in next year’s gubernatorial primary.

“Wow, it looks like highly respected Sen. David Perdue will be running against RINO [Republican in name only] Brian Kemp for Governor of Georgia,” Trump wrote in a statement from his Save America PAC. “David was a great Senator, and he truly loves his State and his Country.

“This will be very interesting, and I can’t imagine that Brian Kemp, who has hurt election integrity in Georgia so badly, can do well at the ballot box (unless the election is rigged, of course). He cost us two Senate seats and a presidential victory in the Great State of Georgia.”

Shortly after that statement, Trump issued another Monday night from his Save America PAC to officially endorse Perdue in the Georgia gubernatorial primary:

“Great to see that David Perdue is running for governor of Georgia. He is a conservative fighter who isn’t afraid of the radical left and he is the only candidate in Georgia who can beat Stacey ‘The Hoax’ Abrams in November. 

“Brian Kemp has failed Georgia. He caved to Stacey Abrams before the 2020 election and allowed massive election fraud to take place. The signing of the Stacey Abrams-backed Consent Decree, so stupidly giving her and the Democrats everything they wanted, was a monumental mistake for not only Georgia, but also for our nation!

“Kemp has been a very weak governor – the liberals and RINOs have run all over him on election integrity, and more. Most importantly, he can’t win because the MAGA-base – which is enormous – will never vote for him. We need strong leaders who will fight, and time is running out!

“David Perdue will eliminate the income tax, secure the elections, defend the Second Amendment, support our great farmers, get crime in Atlanta and other places under control, take care of our great vets, and put parents back in charge of the schools.

“David Perdue and Herschel Walker (who I have already strongly endorsed) will make an unstoppable team for Georgia. Trump supporters will turn out to vote for these great leaders in big numbers. Dave Perdue has my complete and total endorsement. He will not let you down!”

Trump encouraged Perdue to mount the challenge, according to USA Today.

Purdue’s entry into the gubernatorial race marked a victory for Trump, who had long looked for a strong candidate to take on Kemp,, The Hill reported. Kemp, who won his seat in 2018, declined to support Trump’s effort to overturn his 2020 loss in the state. Georgia backed President Joe Biden over Trump by about 0.3 percentage points. 

Perdue, who in January lost a Senate runoff election to Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., blamed Kemp for the loss, saying the GOP governor has “failed all of us and cannot win in November.”

In a 2:15-minute video statement announcing the bid, Perdue said he is the only Republican in Georgia who can defeat the likely Democrat nominee, voting rights leader Stacey Abrams.

But Erick Erickson, a conservative political commentator, wrote on his website that Perdue joining the race “gives Abrams clear sailing” and stalls any of Kemp’s momentum, USA Today reported.

“Perdue getting in before the Georgia General Assembly meets in January means the Georgia GOP will tribally divide, thereby delivering an impotent legislative session that deprives the GOP of any significant pre-election accomplishments,” Erickson said. “The Perdue supporters in the legislature won’t want to give Kemp anything to run on.”

In a tweet highlighting remarks on his radio broadcast, Erickson wrote: “David Perdue was unable to beat a spectacularly unaccomplished Jon Ossoff. Why does he think he can beat Stacey Abrams?”