The other Georgia slugfest: a Brian Kemp-Stacey Abrams rematch

Trump’s ongoing attacks on Kemp for his refusal to undo Biden’s victory in the state make the Georgia governor even more vulnerable, and Trump has threatened to support a major antagonist against Kemp next year. That is all to hurt the reputation of the GOP in the historically red state at a time when the Democrats are still making significant strides here.

“I firmly believe that we have a chance in every nationwide office in 2022,” said Kelly Girtz, the Democratic Mayor of Athens, the university city in northern Georgia. “That would already have been true, given the strength of the candidates we will have on the ballot. But it doesn’t hurt that Trump continues to kick everyone in the face. “

Abrams, the former State House minority leader whom the National Democrats unsuccessfully recruited to the Senate earlier this year, is staying away from the Republican Imbroglio. But the powerhouse group she founded after losing to Kemp in 2018, Fair Fight, raised more than $ 22 million in the last month leading up to the election. registered thousands of new voters and improved the Democrats’ floor game significantly here.

And while she did not attend Elected Vice President Kamala Harris’s rally for Ossoff and Warnock in neighboring Garden City on Sunday night, Democrats celebrated their efforts to register and get more Georgians, especially African-Americans, out.

On the eve of the runoff election, which will determine which party controls the Senate, Georgia Republicans are also considering a turnout to counter the Democrats’ strong primary numbers. They see Trump as their best asset to build the GOP base, but they are increasingly concerned about the turmoil he has created.

“Most Republicans won’t say it publicly, but while the President has clearly supported David and Kelly, he has also violated the Georgia Republican Party,” said former MP Jack Kingston (R-Ga.). An ally of Kemp who lost to Perdue in the 2014 Senate primary election. “And we need every vote we can get. We need unity. And that’s a challenge right now. “

It won’t just be a gubernatorial race that will shape Georgia’s political future next year: the state will have another race in the Senate if either Loeffler or Warnock are re-elected for a full term. Republicans say their goal is to blunt – or just catch up – Abrams-led efforts to build on Biden’s 2020 win.

“I’m very excited about the fact that Georgia is a competitive state, that this is a nail biter,” Abrams said on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. “And I hope the Democrats come up and show that November is the beginning of a pattern.”

Trump’s ongoing attacks on Kemp divide the GOP at a time when the party needs total unity. Rich McCormick, a Republican who narrowly lost a race in the suburbs of Atlanta House in November, was even more direct, arguing that Trump’s attacks on Kemp made the governor more vulnerable in 2022.

“There’s one sentence in the military: you publicly praise and admonish privately,” McCormick said after meeting with Loeffler and Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in a suburb of Atlanta on Saturday. “I really think we can divide our party so widely that we won’t win the next election if we could otherwise.”

Republicans rely on Trump to support Loeffler and Perdue exaggerated and thus retain control of the party over the Senate. They see Trump’s visit to northwest Georgia on Monday night as crucial in getting the president’s supporters to the polls. According to two people familiar with the planning, Kemp is unlikely to be in the rally.

“It certainly doesn’t help Governor Kemp, and the president knows it. But that’s the president,” McCormick said of Trump’s attacks. “He’s fighting. If he sees something he doesn’t like, he’ll speak out immediately. He doesn’t want to think about the ultimate consequences that will affect everyone else because he’s a fighter. He does that. “

Even so, Kemp was active behind the scenes, helping Loeffler and Perdue win re-election and a Kemp-focused Super PAC. Georgia United Victorypoured millions into the race.

Trump’s pressure campaign to scrap the election results has squeezed Kemp between his duties as governor and the president’s desire to stay in office despite his defeat. Trump called Kemp to urge him to convene a special session of the state parliament to block certification of Biden’s victory. Trump has since said he was ashamed of supporting Kemp in 2018. And on Sunday it became known that Trump had pressured Georgia’s top election officials to find votes for him.

At his last rally in Georgia, Trump hovered former MP Doug Collins (R-Ga.) As the main antagonist against Kemp in 2022. And on Saturday Trump promoted A poll that Collins heavily supports in a possible GOP area code writes: “Wow, I think it’s not good to crack down on a president who everyone in Georgia knows got you into office!”

Indeed, Trump’s allies here see the President’s last-minute push for Kemp in 2018 as key to the governor’s victory over Abrams, and Trump’s support in the preliminary round strengthened Kemp over his GOP opponent, then Lt. Governor Casey Cagle. They say Kemp failed to return the favor, and so do they stand ready to endorse a Trump-backed primary challenger for the next year.

“I love President Trump. I love america. Brian Kemp doesn’t seem to be doing the same, ”said Ellen Diehl, a business owner who says she is a“ massive ”Kemp supporter and has a Trump badge encircling her entire car. “If I were Stacey Abrams I would run again. Hell yes. If we don’t have a good Republican candidate, we’re done. “

Collins, whose congressional session ended on Sunday, did not respond to comments.

Seth Bringman, a spokesman for Abrams, said Republicans in Georgia were “focused on fighting each other” while Democrats were “united from day one”. And Abrams told reporters on the Campaign Trail last week that their attention was still on Senate drains, adding, “I will let Republicans handle their internal challenges on their own.”

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