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ATLANTE – Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp defeated former Sen. David Perdue in a GOP gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, dealing the biggest blow yet to a candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
Kemp’s win over Perdue, projected by The Associated Press, breaks a trend of significant success for Trump with his top endorsements. As of May 18, 96% of Trump-backed candidates have won their primaries. Trump’s endorsement propelled Ohio GOP Senate nominee JD Vance to a major victory last month and put Pennsylvania Senate nominee Mehmet Oz ahead of his race, which is yet to be called. one week after primary.
But now Kemp, one of the Republicans Trump has attacked the most since 2020, is heading into a general election showdown against Democrat Stacey Abrams and Perdue is out of public office at the moment.
“I just called the governor and congratulated him,” Perdue said Tuesday night, conceding the race. “I fully support Brian Kemp…tomorrow morning you’re going to hear me go to work…to make sure Stacey Abrams isn’t the next governor of Georgia.”
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Four years ago, with the backing of the then president, Kemp narrowly defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams. But Kemp angered Trump after certifying the results of Georgia’s 2020 presidential election after two recounts of the vote. Last year, Trump repeatedly urged Perdue to challenge the governor and endorsed him the day after the former senator announced his candidacy in December.
Perdue jumped into the race days after Abrams, a rising Democratic Party star and nationally known champion of voter rights, launched her second straight gubernatorial bid. Abrams is unopposed in the Democratic primary.
TRUMP IS BIG ON PRIMARES IN GEORGIA, TEXAS, ALABAMA AND ARKANSAS
Trump traveled to Georgia in late March to headline a rally for Perdue, starred in his campaign ads and called for two tele-rallies this month. But even though Trump retains an immense hold on the GOP, his all-court press did not spur Perdue in his tough challenge of Kemp.
On the eve of the primary, Kemp told Fox News he was “the candidate who can beat Stacey Abrams,” rebutting the former president and Perdue’s repeated arguments that Trump voters wouldn’t support the governor. in the November general election against Abrams.
But Perdue argued in a Fox News interview on Monday that the incumbent governor is “definitely vulnerable.”
TRUMP AND PENCE HOLD DUEL RALLIES FOR LOST AND KEMP ON EVE OF PRIMARY IN GEORGIA
Perdue is far from the only candidate Trump backs in Georgia.
The most high-profile candidate endorsed by Trump is former college and pro football legend Herschel Walker, who easily won the GOP nomination as he headed to fight Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in a showdown. electoral blockbuster that could decide whether Republicans win back the Senate majority.
And the former president endorsed GOP Rep. Jody Hice, one of three primary candidates challenging Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who along with Kemp resisted Trump’s calls to overturn the presidential election results. of 2020.
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Trump has also endorsed candidates in the lieutenant governor and state attorney general races, as well as a handful of congressional primaries. The former president backs right-wing GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has sparked much controversy since being elected to the House in 2020. She faces several primary opponents as she runs for re-election in the 14th congressional district in northwestern Georgia.