ATLANTA - U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., picked up endorsements Friday from three former Georgia Republican senators, including the lawmaker he succeeded in Congress.
Supporting Perdue are former Sens. Johnny Isakson, who retired from Congress at the end of last year; Saxby Chambliss, who left Washington in 2014 to be succeeded by Perdue; and Mack Mattingly, elected in 1980 as Georgia’s first Republican U.S. senator since Reconstruction.
“For the better part of five years, I had the honor of working directly with David to represent Georgia in the United States Senate,” Isakson said. “I’ve seen firsthand how dedicated he is to improving our health care system, taking care of our veterans and expanding opportunities for our young people. We need David Perdue to keep fighting for us in the Senate.”
The show of unity behind Perdue is in sharp contrast to Georgia’s other U.S. Senate race, which has divided Republicans.
Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., late last year to succeed Isakson on an interim basis, and the governor continues to back her, as does Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Attorney General Chris Carr.
Other GOP leaders, including Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, are supporting U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, a former member of the General Assembly who is leaving the House to run for the Senate. Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, endorsed Collins on Thursday.
Former Gov. Nathan Deal hasn’t endorsed either Loeffler or Collins but attended a Collins rally last week in Gainesville.
Unlike Perdue’s reelection bid against Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, which is limited to two major-party candidates, Loeffler and Collins are locked in a free-for-all contest that includes multiple Republicans and Democrats.
Some Republicans pushed during this year’s General Assembly session to set up a June primary for Loeffler’s seat to avoid pitting two or more GOP candidates against each other on the general election ballot in November but were unsuccessful.
Perdue also landed an endorsement Friday from Nancy Coverdell, the widow of former Republican U.S. Sen. Paul Coverdell, who served from 1993 until his death in 2000.