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As he works to stave off a key Republican Party challenge from Trump-backed former Sen. David Perdue, conservative Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp will receive last-minute help from a very high-profile deputy.
Former Vice President Mike Pence will join Kemp on the eve of the Georgia primary on May 24 on the campaign trail, the Kemp campaign will announce on Friday. Pence’s trip to the Peach State to tie up with the governor was first revealed to Fox News and two other news organizations on Friday morning.
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Pence, a former governor of Indiana before serving as vice president under former President Donald Trump, has criss-crossed the country over the past 15 months helping support fellow Republicans and raising money for the 2021 and 2022 elections . Members of the former vice president’s political team have supported Kemp’s re-election team in recent months, and top Pence adviser and adviser Marc Short came on board a week and a half ago as senior adviser for the governor’s campaign.
Former Vice President Mike Pence and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp team up on the campaign trail in Dalton, Georgia in November 2018.
(Brian Kemp re-election campaign)
“Brian Kemp is one of the most successful conservative governors in America,” Pence said in a statement. “He built a safer and stronger Georgia by lowering taxes, empowering parents and investing in teachers, funding law enforcement and championing the right to life.”
The former vice president also stressed, “Brian Kemp is my friend, a man who is passionate about faith, family and the people of Georgia. I’m proud to offer Brian Kemp my full support as Governor of the great state of Georgia for another four years!”
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The governor praised Pence, stressing that “the vice president’s leadership has been instrumental in creating the most prosperous economy in American history, including here in Georgia, and his commitment to building a safer and stronger America represents our party’s highest ideals.” “.
Four years ago, with support from Trump, Kemp narrowly defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams to win the governorship. But Kemp drew Trump’s wrath starting in late 2020 after the governor confirmed President Biden’s narrow victory in Georgia in the presidential election after several vote recounts. Trump, who unsuccessfully urged the state’s governor and other senior Republican officials to overturn the results, has now returned to Georgia twice to fight Kemp.
Former President Donald Trump shakes hands with former Senator David Perdue at the former President’s Rally in Cumming, Georgia March 26, 2022, who is primarily challenging GOP Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia
(David Perdue campaign)
Trump spent months urging Perdue to challenge the governor, and late last year he backed Perdue a day after the former senator submitted his bid. Perdue declared his candidacy days after Abrams, an electoral reform advocate and aspiring Democrat, submitted her second consecutive candidacy for governor. Trump held a rally with Perdue in Georgia a month and a half ago.
But regardless of Trump’s endorsement and support, with less than two weeks to go until the Georgia primary, Kemp enjoys a large lead over Perdue in two key campaign metrics — opinion polls and fundraising.
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The governor is getting plenty of high-profile company in the final days of his campaign. Kemp, who enjoys the support of the Republican Governors Association, will join the RGA Co-Chairs Govs on the campaign trail in the coming days. Doug Ducey from Arizona and Pete Ricketts from Nebraska. And Fox News was the first to report Thursday that former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a former RGA chairman, will join Kemp for campaign stops in Canton and Alpharetta, Georgia, next Tuesday, May 17.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp takes a selfie with supporters on the campaign trail in Blakely, Georgia on April 20, 2022
Georgia’s Republican gubernatorial primary appears to be turning — to some extent — into a proxy war of the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.
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Trump, who remains the most popular and influential politician in the Republican Party as he continues to play the role of kingmaker in the 2022 GOP primary, repeatedly teases another White House run in 2024. Meanwhile, Pence is doing all necessary steps in the run-up to a possible presidential candidacy.
Christie, who ran unsuccessfully for the 2016 GOP nomination, has also publicly discussed his interest in running for president again in 2024.