Trump has taken a particularly active role in shaping the governorship by hiring former Sen. David Purdue to challenge current incumbent Brian Kemp in retaliation for Kemp’s failure to lie about the theft of the 2020 election. And in an attempt to pave the way for Purdue, Trump pushed another Republican in the race – Vernon Jones – to run for Congress.
Trump returned to Georgia on Saturday night for a rally before the state’s May 24 primary to try to persuade Purdue in a campaign that is emerging as a preliminary, critical test of whether former President Kingmaker could play his role. GOP
“Before we can defeat the Democrat Socialists and the Communists … we must first sell RINO in the primaries this spring and defeat the losers,” Trump repeatedly told the crowd, leaning towards the camp as he accused him of betraying Republican voters. With the ridiculous acronym, “Republican in name only.”
“Brian Kemp is a turncoat. He’s a coward and he’s a complete and utter disaster,” Trump said, referring to Purdue as the only Republican who can defeat Stacey Abrams, a Democrat running for governor for a second term.
“Governor Kemp is focused on making sure that Stacey Abrams is never our governor or the next president,” Cody Hall, Kemp’s communications director, said in response.
But there are warning signs for Trump. While Walker is moving towards the primary with minimal opposition, the other races are more complicated. Jones, for example, is now competing in a crowded congressional primary where no one can clear the required 50% threshold to avoid a runoff.
Purdue, meanwhile, could pose a more high-profile challenge for the former president. He has struggled to raise money and has overtaken Kemp by 50% to 39% in a Fox News poll published this month. If that momentum is maintained, the camp will be within significant distance of winning the primary, avoiding the runoff.
“I think it might start, I don’t want to use the word fall, but it could be the beginning of a diminishing effect,” said Eric Tenenblatt, former chief of staff to former Georgia Republican Gov. Sonny Purdue and a former fundraiser for David Purdue. The collector who is supporting the primary camp.
In a statement before Trump’s arrival at the Northeast Georgia Commerce Rally, Perdu unleashed a series of sharp attacks on Kemp because he slammed Trump’s election lies, declaring that “our election in 2020 was completely stolen.” He accused Kemp of “selling out” Georgia voters through multiple measures, including refusing to convene a special state legislature session before Jan. 6 to investigate or cancel the election.
State law was needed to certify the results of the camp and has repeatedly stated that any other course would invite endless litigation. No credible evidence was found to support Trump’s claim of referendum fraud. Federal and state election officials and Trump’s own attorney general said the election was fair and that the former president’s allegations were rejected by the court, which included Trump’s appointed judge.
“Anyway, where’s Brian Kemp?” Where’s Brian? “Purdue asked.” She’s not here. Do you know why Because he has slapped the President in the face for the last two years and the President has said ‘No’ as many times as he wants.
Purdue promised, if elected, “to ensure that those responsible for those frauds go to jail in 2020” because he extended his remarks to imitate Trump.
Trump has once again become obsessed with Republican strongholds since the 2020 campaign, when he became the first GOP presidential candidate to lose the state in 28 years. If he decides to run for the White House in 2024, it could again be the focus of his political future.
This is why his activity in the state is particularly significant because Trump is essentially gathering voters behind candidates who could play a key role in certifying future elections where he is a participant. He has already shown a tremendous desire to pressure officials to reverse the results he does not like. In his tumultuous days in office, Trump pressured Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s victory, a conversation that is now the subject of a grand jury investigation in Atlanta.
Georgia’s results were verified after three recounts, including a partial handover. They all confirmed Biden’s victory.
Given the former president’s special attention to Georgia, a stalemate here could weaken his efforts elsewhere for champion candidates who have pledged allegiance to his views on the GOP, influenced by electoral lies and cultural clashes over race and gender issues. Some of those candidates are already fighting.
Trump on Wednesday revoked his approval of Alabama Republican Senate primary candidate Mo Brooks. He will travel to North Carolina next month to try to increase the selection of North Carolina’s controversial Senate primary, Republican U.S. Republican Ted Bud, who was behind former governor Pat McCrory in voting and fundraising. Trump’s choice in the Pennsylvania Senate GOP primary has dropped, and Trump has yet to field a candidate in the important but wounded party Senate primary in Ohio and Missouri.
Meanwhile, some top national Trump opponents, including Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Trump has not backed down from seeking re-election even after promising for more than a year that he would be defeated.
Kemp, who is holding his own Saturday meeting with the Columbia County Republican Party in suburban Augusta, said he had $ 12.7 million in his main campaign account as of Jan. 31. It surpassed Purdue, who had less than $ 1 million in cash. January.
The current governor of Georgia has promised an initial investment of at least $ 4.2 million in TV commercials before the primary. Other Trump opponents are raising costs, including GOP 2.0, a super PAC founded by Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, who does not seek re-election but has been sharply criticized by the former president for defending Georgia’s 2020 election results.
Duncan, a Republican, says Trump’s approval is not a “gold ticket” as it once was, and his party is launching its first 30-second television spot to coincide with the former president’s rally. In it, Duncan denounces politicians who “would rather let conservative extremists lead us astray by talking about conspiracy theories and past losses.”
“You almost feel bad for David Purdue. This (he) is walking from the board that Donald Trump has laid for him in Georgia, “Duncan said in an interview. “We’re going to see a rally that is going to confuse the Georgians again and who knows what Donald Trump is going to say,” Duncan said.
Referring to Trump, Duncan added, “He’s out to set a score, and that’s not a way to keep conservative leadership in power.”
Despite such concerns, Trump is not shying away. This week, he threw his support behind virtually unknown John Gordon to challenge Attorney General Chris Carr. He also backed Patrick Witt to go against Insurance Commissioner John King. Republican incumbents are statewide officials who are most closely linked to the main target of Trump’s wrath.
Wizard reports from Washington. New York-based Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report.