Trump is Tested in Georgia

Before Tuesday’s GOP primaries in Georgia, the implications were rising for erstwhile President Trump.

The elections will test Trump’s GOP might. He may fail. The elections follow this week’s races in Pennsylvania, as well as North Carolina, wherein Trump-backed nominees fared poorly.

Attacking Brian Kemp

Trump has frequently chastised Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and backed Kemp’s opponent, David Perdue (R-Ga.).

Trump’s major beef with Kemp is he didn’t back him on the 2020 election results. During a tele-rally supporting Perdue, Trump called Kemp a “terrible RINO.”

Republican voters aren’t listening. The polls favor Kemp.

Kemp leads Perdue by more than 30 points, compared to 11 points in March. Kemp had 60% of Republican primary voters, and Purdue had 28%.

According to RealClearPolitics, Kemp had a 25-point advantage Thursday evening. Republicans and Independents point to one factor to explain Kemp’s polling lead.

The current governor is conservative, they say. Polls show he’s popular. Perdue’s campaign hinges on one argument: Kemp should have helped Trump reverse the election.

“The only thing Perdue can point to is what? That Kemp should have acted illegally to nullify the election,” Georgia State University’s Amy Steigerwalt says.

This swayed MAGA diehards. No evidence suggests it’s enough to unseat a dominant governor.

“Outside of Trump, [Kemp] has done a really decent job,” said a Georgia GOP strategist not affiliated with either candidate.

Trump will likely win Georgia. Herschel Walker will likely win the GOP Senate primary and face Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in November. Trump backed Walker in September.

The state secretary is less confident. Incumbent Brad Raffensperger (R) is running for reelection because he refused to do what President Trump asked him to do over and over again during the 2020 election.

In one phone call in January 2021, Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to cancel President Biden’s win in Georgia.

Trump backed Jody Hice (R-Ga.) to unseat Raffensperger. Polling shows a tight contest with many undecided voters, but Raffensperger is less likely than Kemp to stave off a Trump-backed candidate.

Raffensperger accuses Hice of “lying about our electoral procedure.”

Two years ago, Trump lost Georgia to Biden by 12,000 votes out of five million casts.

Possible Backlash?

Its primaries come after a tumultuous week for Trump.

Mehmet Oz, the TV star Trump favored in Pennsylvania’s Senate primary, is likely to face an automatic recount. Trump has pressured Oz to call the race, but he hasn’t yet.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) lost a primary in North Carolina’s 11th district, despite Trump’s support. In Idaho, Republican Gov. Brad Little beat his own lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin.

Trump’s candidates also won. Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) won North Carolina’s GOP Senate primary. Doug Mastriano, who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, is the GOP’s candidate for governor in Pennsylvania.

Author J.D. Vance secured the Republican Senate primary in Ohio this month.

Georgia may be difficult. Some Republicans are concerned that Trump will face backlash for interfering in state politics.

Georgians are independent. Andy Garner, a former Floyd County Republican Party chairman, stated, “We look at the candidate, not who endorses them. Don’t tell us how to vote.”

Perdue’s candidacy raises worries.

Having lost his Senate seat to Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), he would be a risky gubernatorial pick for Republicans, especially given he would face Stacey Abrams, a national figure running unchallenged on the Democratic side.

Some Georgia Republicans worry that too much Trump had negative consequences in the past. Trump made phony fraud charges after Election Day 2020.

In Georgia, a candidate must win more than 50% of the vote to be elected to the Senate.

Democrats won both seats and took over the Senate. Some Republicans are upset that Trump’s participation hurt conservative turnout.

Trump wants to show his strength for bragging rights and be the GOP front-runner in 2024. Georgia may again defy him. Steigerwalt says Trump’s power decreases as 2024 approaches.