Brian Kemp Trounced His Trump-Backed Challenger. Here's How

Politico does a deep dive on Georgia governor's primary campaign
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2022 12:01 AM CDT
Brian Kemp Trounced His Trump-Backed Challenger. Here's How
Republican Gov. Brian Kemp waves to supporters during an election night watch party, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Atlanta. Kemp easily turned back a GOP primary challenge Tuesday from former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who was backed by former President Donald Trump.   (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

(Newser) – Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp did more than just fend off a challenger backed by former President Trump in the state's Republican gubernatorial primary on Tuesday—he got more than triple the votes former Sen. David Perdue did, and an extensive piece at Politico looks at how Kemp "crushed Trump" in the race despite many worrying that Trump's vendetta against Kemp would end his political career. After Kemp refused to go along with Trump's insistence that he overturn the state's 2020 presidential election results, Trump spoke out against him, campaigned with Perdue, appeared in campaign ads for Perdue, and spent millions of his own PAC dollars supporting Perdue. But, according to more than a dozen strategists, donors, and party officials involved in Kemp's campaign, Kemp was able to do much more.

He got even former Perdue advisers, donors, and other allies to back him (putting some of them in positions of power before Perdue even launched his campaign) and passed legislation that brought pro-Trump voters back around to his side. (The AP lists some of those, including a law allowing most state residents to carry guns without a permit and a "heartbeat" abortion ban.") Kemp ultimately raised more than six times more money than Perdue; Politico says he "effectively [shut] down his fundraising reservoir," and even some former Perdue donors advised Perdue to drop out of the race. The Republican Governors Association, which supports incumbent GOP governors, also cut ties with two well-known Republican consulting firms and a finance director for working with Perdue. For the full piece, see Politico. Kemp faces Democrat Stacey Abrams in the general election, in a rematch of 2018. (Read more Brian Kemp stories.)

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