JF in the News: Kemp Allies and Other Georgia Republicans Look to Keep Trump from Interfering in Governor’s Race
Trump has not yet signaled how he plans to approach the Georgia gubernatorial contest, which is likely to be one of the most expensive races in 2022. While the former President has endorsed other candidates this cycle who were critical of him in the past (most recently, Ohio Senate GOP nominee J.D. Vance, a prominent “Never Trump” voice during the 2016 presidential election), his anger toward Kemp runs unusually deep and virtually no one in his orbit expects him to endorse the GOP incumbent.
The bulk of Trump’s frustration with Kemp stems from the aftermath of the 2020 election in which the governor refused to indulge then-President Trump’s false claims about widespread voter fraud in Georgia and other states.
“We worked hard. We lost. The voters spoke and now there’s no looking back. Kemp won and now we’ve got to look forward,” said conservative radio host John Fredericks, who served as Trump’s Virginia campaign chairman and was one of several Trump allies who campaigned aggressively for former US Sen. David Perdue in the final weeks of his primary challenge against Kemp.
“Over time, President Trump is going to evaluate the options in Georgia and look at the picture long-term and make the right decision for Georgia and the nation,” Fredericks said in a phone interview Thursday.
While Trump is prone to acting on a whim and could reverse course at any time, allies of the former President said there are two compelling reasons for him to quit attacking Kemp. For one, Kemp’s 52-point margin of victory against Perdue in the primary proved that his popularity among Georgia Republicans has endured despite Trump’s blistering criticism. Allies of both men believe Kemp is thus well-positioned to win reelection, setting Trump up for further embarrassment if he continues to target the GOP incumbent after his preferred candidate already lost the primary.
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