(The Hill) – Former Vice President Mike Pence announced Friday that he will run for Governor Brian Kemp in his Georgia re-election bid, breaking with former President Donald Trump, who backed former Senator David Perdue in the closely-watched primary .
Pence announced that he will attend a May 23 campaign rally with Kemp ahead of the May 24 Georgia gubernatorial primary.
Pence said in a statement that Kemp is “my friend, a man who is dedicated to the faith, family and people of Georgia.”
Pence said in a statement obtained by the Journal-Constitution that Kemp is “committed to the faith, family and people of Georgia.”
The former vice president described Kemp as “one of America’s most successful conservative governors.”
“He built a safer and stronger Georgia by lowering taxes, empowering parents and investing in teachers, funding law enforcement and championing strongly the right to life,” Pence said in the statement. “I’m proud to offer Brian Kemp my full support as Governor of the great state of Georgia for another four years!”
Pence’s move comes as Kemp was a persistent target of Trump after he refused to overturn the state’s 2020 election results.
The former president released a statement on Wednesday criticizing Kemp and his supporters, saying, “Today, the country’s worst governor, Brian Kemp, overloaded the great state of Georgia with RINOs,” or “Republicans in names only.”
A number of other national Republican figures, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, have expressed support for Kemp.
Pence previously broke with Trump over issues arising from his 2020 election defeat, saying “President Trump is wrong” and that he has “no right to overturn the election” after Trump falsely claimed Pence had authority to overturn the election results.
In the joint statement with Pence, Kemp praised the former vice president for his work with the Trump administration.
“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,” said Kemp.
The Republican lead winner will face Democrat Stacey Abrams in November, who narrowly lost a 2018 bid for the same office. The Cook Political Report rates the Georgia race as a failure.
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