ATLANTA (AP) — A prominent Republican has put his hat into the race to replace Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, who's seeking reelection next year.
Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black entered the 2022 Senate race Friday, announcing on Twitter and other social media platforms, “Together, with one conservative vote, let’s restore Republican leadership to the Senate and save our country.”
Black formally rolled out his campaign at the state GOP convention in Jekyll Island, news outlets reported.
“Warnock and (President Joe) Biden promised to ‘fundamentally change America,’ ” Black told the delegates, The Marietta Daily Journal reported. “They’re five months into it and job growth and opportunity are down, inflation, debt and gas prices are up, (and) the Middle East is back at war.”
Black was elected commissioner in 2010 after leading the Georgia Agribusiness Council. During his tenure, he has made “Georgia Grown” one of the most successful marketing efforts of its kind in the nation. He helped lead efforts in 2018 to bring federal aid to South Georgia farmers hit hard by Hurricane Michael and worked with the Trump administration to steer money raised by tariffs on China to expand marketing efforts in Taiwan.
Warnock won a special election runoff in January over then-Sen. Kelly Loeffler and is seeking a full-term next year. Loeffler and former Rep. Doug Collins, who finished third in that race, have said they have no plans to run for Senate in 2022.
Warnock hasn’t drawn any other Republican challengers with big name recognition. Two who have entered the contest are Latham Saddler, an Atlanta banking executive, and Kelvin King, a small business owner and Air Force veteran from Atlanta. Others considering a run include Republican state House Speaker David Ralston and U.S. Reps. Buddy Carter of Savannah and Drew Ferguson of West Point. Former President Donald Trump also has urged University of Georgia football great Herschel Walker to seek the seat.
Black told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he intends to mount a campaign regardless of who else enters the race.
“Would I love to have Trump’s support? Absolutely. You’re going to find me saluting all the good things he’s done the past four years. Those accomplishments are Republican accomplishments,” Black said. “But I’m running no matter what. Absolutely. I’m in this race to win the primary and the general election.”