Trump gets wish in Georgia, sparks ‘a political civil war’

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Less than a year after losing the presidency, Donald Trump is determined to reshape the GOP in its image in the nation’s top political battleground states, sparking a bitter primary battle over which candidates and Will force voters to decide how much to accept Trump and his complaints.

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But nowhere is her search more fruitful than in Georgia

Trump has prompted a slate of loyalists to seek statewide office in the southern swing state, and as of Monday, that group included former Republican Sen. David Perdue who formally launched a challenge against the Republican government. Brian Kemp’s move marked a rare, serious primary threat to an incumbent governor, undermining the wishes of GOP leaders in Washington and ensuring Republican infighting in a state where the party is trying to restore its dominance. .


“It’s going to be a political civil war in Georgia,” current Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, a Republican and frequent Trump critic who is not running for re-election, told the Associated Press. “All this can be avoided if we behave like adults and move on. But this is not the reality at the moment.”

It’s not just Georgia.

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What’s left of the tension between Trump and the Republican establishment is defining primaries for Senate and governor in dozens of states — including Arizona, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania — before ballots are to be cast next spring and summer. few months before. With President Joe Biden’s approval numbers declining, political headwinds from Washington suggest Republicans could make major political gains in 2022 — if the GOP can get its way.

Trump’s interest in a third presidential bid in 2024 ensures that he will be the face of the Republican Party for the foreseeable future.

Look no further for a cautionary tale than Georgia, a developed swing state where the demographic shift of recent years has given Democrats the path to power. Biden narrowly defeated Trump last fall and, after Trump falsely claimed widespread electoral fraud, Democrats seized victory in two Senate runoff elections in January, giving him control of the Senate.

Since then, the former president has lashed out at the state officials who authenticated the election results — Kemp chief among them — with a fierce torrent of political attacks.

Trump’s main problem with Kemp has nothing to do with actual policy; He is working to remove the governor after he refused to support Trump’s fight to reverse the 2020 election.

The former president called Kemp “a very weak governor” in a statement backing Perdue on Monday night, citing nothing specific in his opposition to the incumbent governor to defend his position on “electoral integrity.” .

“Most importantly,” Trump said of Kemp, “he can’t win because the MAGA base — which is huge — will never vote for him.”

Trump also promoted Republican former football star Herschelle Walker in the GOP’s push to defeat Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, betting an untested and unproven professional athlete in the Republican primary against state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. He is supporting like-minded candidates for lieutenant governor and secretary of state in the Republican primary, where current Secretary of State Brad Raffensper is fighting for his political survival.

Nationwide, Trump has so far endorsed more than 60 midterm candidates, with many Republicans running against the incumbent.

Trump’s interference in the Georgia gubernatorial race is a nightmare for some Republican strategists, who were already gearing up for a tough general election contest against former state lawmaker and Democratic voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, who won Kemp in 2018. had lost to. Abrams formally announced his candidacy last week.

In its announcement video, Perdue said it was running first and foremost to stop Abrams and “an unprecedented attack from waking up.” He also rubbished Trump’s baseless claims about the 2020 election.

“We just have to unite,” said Perdue, who narrowly lost his Senate seat in January. “Unfortunately, today we are divided, and Brian Kemp and Brad Riffensperger are to blame.”

Meanwhile, a furious Kemp promises an all-out brawl. Kemp’s spokesman, Cody Hall, called Perdue “the person who lost Republicans in the United States Senate” and blamed the deposed senator for a list of complaints, including inflation, high government spending, and cancel culture.

The Georgian First Leadership Committee, a Kemp-aligned group that can raise unlimited contributions, also attacked Perdue in a fundraising email just hours after the announcement, capturing the former senator’s business records and stock trades in office. . Democratic Sen. John Osoff used similar criticism to defeat Perdue in January’s Senate contest.

“This devious insider and ‘America Last’ loser is desperate to return to political relevance,” the committee wrote in a fundraising email.

Republicans in Washington and beyond are gearing up for a bad and costly GOP primary that could eventually cost tens of millions of dollars and drag Kemp to the right in a state relocated to the center. So far, Abrams has no primary challengers.

“While David Perdue and Brian Kemp fight each other, Stacey Abrams will fight for the people of Georgia,” Abrams’ top aide Lauren Groh-Wargo wrote on Twitter.

The governor’s race this year reflects the GOP split in Republican communities.

In Georgia, pro-Trump activists angered by his defeat have flooded local Republican Party meetings,…


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