Republicans not named Donald Trump see the value in an incumbent.
With just 10 days to go until the Republican gubernatorial primary in Georgia, the incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp announced that former Vice President Mike Pence will headline his campaign rally on May 23, the night before the state’s primary election.
in a statements Included in Kemp’s campaign ad, the former vice president pointedly praised Kemp as a friend and one of “America’s most successful conservative governors.”
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“He built a safer and stronger Georgia by cutting taxes, empowering parents and investing in teachers, funding law enforcement, and upholding the right to life.” Pence said. “Brian Kemp is my friend, a man dedicated to faith, family and the people of Georgia. I am proud to offer my full support for four more years of Brian Kemp as Governor of the great state of Georgia!”
Pence joins trio of prominent current and former Republican governors who have also stepped forward in recent days to endorse Kemp, as the governor faces a Trump-backed primary challenger from former Sen. David Perdue (R-GA). Earlier this week, the Kemp campaign announced that the governor of Arizona. Doug Ducey (right), Governor of Nebraska. Pete Ricketts (R) and former Governor of New Jersey. Chris Christie (right) would join Kemp before the primaries.
Former President Trump endorsed Perdue last year, allegedly after having to convince the former senator over several rounds of golf challenge Kemp first. Kemp has a sure advantage in the polls and is expected to win the primary later this month. But, as NPR noted, there is still a chance that Perdue, especially with Trump’s backing, could stand in the way of Kemp getting 50 percent of the vote. If that is the case, the election will go to a second round.
While this is a different situation than what we saw in January 2021, when Democrats disappointed Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s re-election prospects in the runoff and took the Senate majority, a runoff would bring the drama closer within of the Republican Party to the general situation. choice. The main winner would have to face the overwhelmingly popular Stacey Abrams.
Kemp polled slightly better than Perdue in a hypothetical matchup against Abrams, and it seems that established GOP types like Pence, Ducey, Ricketts and Christie see a safe path for their party to endorse the incumbent. Trump, however, is a grievance-driven political machine.
Trump sees Kemp as one of his main enemies, and believes that Kemp’s refusal to subvert the results of the 2020 election in Georgia is part of what kept him from stealing a second term as president.
Kemp could be, at this point, leaning on to his political resilience in the face of Trump’s wrath; after all, what choice does he have? But that’s what makes Pence’s move so interesting. The former vice president has plenty of reasons to break up with his former boss: Trump not only put his life in danger during the January 6 insurrection, he also made it abundantly clear. Pence would not be his running mate if he runs again in 2024.
Pence has not always been outspoken about the danger of Trump’s Big Lie, which has divided Georgia politics. But he chooses the moments of it.