Georgia GOP governors clash: Kemp makes big money as he faces Perdue’s Trump-backed challenge

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EXCLUSIVE: With just over three weeks until primary day in Georgia, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has replenished his formidable campaign war chest.

Kemp — the first-term conservative governor who faces a primary challenge from former GOP Sen. David Perdue, who has the backing of former President Donald Trump — brought in more than $2.7 million in April for his re-election campaign. And the governor will bring $10.7 million in cash to his campaign coffers.

UNDER ATTACK BY TRUMP, KEMP STRENGTHENS

The fundraising figures, which were first shared nationally with Fox News Digital on Monday, cover the period beginning April 5, after Georgia’s legislative session ended, through the end of the month. . Georgia governors, other elected state officials and state legislators have been barred for decades from receiving contributions for their personal campaign committees during the legislative session.

Republican Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia, at a campaign event in Athens, Georgia on June 18, 2021.
(Brian Kemp Campaign)

Kemp hauled $7.4 million from July 1, 2021 to January 10 of this year — along with $12.7 million in cash — when the 2022 legislative session began. And he enjoyed a huge fundraising advantage over Perdue, which raised $1.1 million from its campaign launch in early December through the end of January, with around $1 million in its coffers. Perdue has yet to file its latest fundraising report.

“Our campaign kept our feet on the gas in April following the governor’s bold leadership in the most conservative legislative session ever,” Kemp campaign manager Bobby Saparow boasted.

And Saparow predicted that “the momentum is with our campaign, and we will continue to outperform our competition to score victories in May and November.”

LOST SAYS TRUMP WILL DO ‘WHATEVER IT TAKES’ TO HELP HIM BEAT KEMP

Kemp also enjoys a wide lead over Perdue in another crucial metric – public opinion polls. The Governor holds a whopping 25-point lead over Perdue in an average of the three most recent surveys.

Four years ago, with Trump’s backing, Kemp narrowly defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams to win the governorship. But Kemp drew Trump’s ire from late 2020, after the governor certified President Biden’s narrow victory in Georgia in the presidential election after several vote recounts. Trump, who had unsuccessfully urged the governor and other top Republican state officials to overturn the results, has now returned to Georgia twice to campaign against Kemp.

Former President Donald Trump shakes hands with former Senator David Perdue, who is the top challenger to GOP Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia, at the former President's rally in Cumming, Georgia on March 26, 2022
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Former President Donald Trump shakes hands with former Senator David Perdue, who is the top challenger to GOP Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia, at the former President’s rally in Cumming, Georgia on March 26, 2022
(David Perdue Campaign)

For months, Trump has urged Perdue to challenge the governor, and late last year he endorsed Perdue a day after the former senator launched his candidacy. Perdue declared her candidacy days after Abrams, a suffrage champion and rising Democratic Party star, launched her second straight gubernatorial bid.

WHAT THE LATEST FOX NEWS POLL SHOWS IN GEORGIA’S GOP CLASH FOR GOVERNOR

Abrams, a fundraising giant, hauled in $9.25 million from its campaign launch on Dec. 1 through the end of January. Abrams, who faces no competition for the Democratic nomination, has yet to file his final fundraising report.

Stacey Abrams, Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia, at a campaign event

Stacey Abrams, Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia, at a “One Georgia Tour” campaign event in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., Monday, March 14, 2022.
(Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fundraising is a key barometer of a candidate’s popularity, support and strength. And candidates can use campaign money to build grassroots awareness, hire staff, travel, and produce and run ads.

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Besides Perdue, Kemp also faces major challenges from three lesser-known candidates – Catherine Davis, Kandiss Taylor and Tom Williams. After Kemp and Perdue faced off in two debates last week, the five candidates shared the stage in a debate on Sunday, the last before the May 24 primary.

Early voting in the primary began on Monday and will last until May 20.

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