Donald Trump gave everything. On Monday evening he gave a speech at a rally connected via video. Again he fought for David Perdue, who he wanted to become governor of Georgia.
Perdue is “the only candidate” who can beat Democratic competitor Stacey Abrams. Republican incumbent Brian Kemp will not make it, Trump claimed: “There are too many people in the Republican Party who will refuse to vote for him.”
But that was not all: for months, the ex-president attacked Kemp and praised Perdue. Trump donated more than $2.6 million to Perdue’s election campaign – Trump had never invested so much in a candidate (other than himself).
That was a politically and financially bad investment. Incumbent Kemp confidently defeated his internal party challenger, ex-Senator Perdue, in Tuesday’s primary.
With around 70 percent of the votes on Wednesday night, Kemp was well ahead of Perdue (around 20 percent). Kemp, 58, governor since 2019, is the Republican candidate.
He has to face his Democratic challenger Abrams, 48, in the actual election on November 8th. This occurs for the second time. Your disadvantage: lack of tailwind from Washington, miserable approval ratings for Joe Biden.
For Trump, the outcome of the Georgia race is a political debacle. Once again he failed with his main message, namely the lawsuit about the allegedly falsified presidential election in 2020, which he lost. Trump was committed to Perdue because he shares his conspiracy theories about 2020.
Just days ago, Perdue failed in court with a lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results. The court rated Perdue’s claims as “speculation, conjecture and paranoia” – the very brew that foster father Trump has been stirring since November 2020.
If the results of the gubernatorial primary show anything, it’s that Republican voters are passionate about current political issues, classic party concerns, such as fighting inflation. And not Trump’s fairy tales about alleged crude theses, which have been refuted dozens of times, about falsifications in an election that was almost two years ago.
Trump broke with Gov. Kemp after he failed to help overturn the 2020 election results. Joe Biden won against Trump in Georgia. The Republicans also lost both senators to the Democrats here. After the 2020 election, Trump regularly berated the governor.
Kemp himself referred to his government record, including a very early opening of the state during the corona pandemic. “I had a great relationship with President Trump,” Kemp said Monday.
“I never said anything bad about him. I have no intention of doing that either. I’m not mad at him. I think he’s just mad at me. And that’s something I can’t control.” Kemp’s victory is particularly bitter for Trump because his former Vice President Mike Pence had committed himself to the governor – and thus to Trump’s pupil Perdue.
Pence also performed in Georgia on Monday night. Voting for Kemp will send a “deafening message across America that the Republican Party is the party of the future,” Pence said. When asked about Trump, Pence was silent.
The relationship between the two men is broken. They have reportedly not spoken to each other for over a year. Trump resents Pence for not fabricating and certifying the 2020 election result in his favor. That refusal culminated in Trump’s storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, where Pence had to be escorted to safety.
Particularly spicy for Trump: His former deputy is keeping his own candidacy for the 2024 presidential election open. Trump is also flirting with a candidacy for the White House. After the midterm elections in November, the two men could declare themselves. It is quite possible that they will even compete against each other.
Pence, evangelical and staunchly conservative, has walked a fine line so far: He praises the successes of his reign with Trump, but refrains from the conspiracy theories of the “stolen election”. Pence calls January 6 a “dark day in American history.” However, he does not ride attacks against Trump.
And vice versa? Trump has always vented his anger at Pence: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our constitution,” Trump said.
On the polemic scale, especially with Trump, there is still a lot of rhetorical room for improvement. With Kemp’s clear victory in Georgia, Pence gave his party colleague Trump at least a small blow.