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ATLANTE – Polls are off in Georgia, where former President Donald Trump has firmly inserted himself into a handful of high-profile Republican Party primaries in the crucial battleground state.
The race that’s garnering the most attention from coast to coast is the GOP gubernatorial primary, where conservative Gov. Brian Kemp is challenged by Trump-backed former Sen. David Perdue.
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Four years ago, with the backing of the then president, Kemp narrowly defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams. But Kemp angered Trump after certifying the results of Georgia’s 2020 presidential election after two recounts of the vote. Last year, Trump repeatedly urged Perdue to challenge the governor and endorsed him the day after the former senator announced his candidacy in December.
Perdue jumped into the race days after Abrams, a rising Democratic Party star and nationally known voter rights champion, launched her second straight gubernatorial bid. Abrams is unopposed in the Democratic primary.
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Trump traveled to Georgia in late March to headline a rally for Perdue, starred in his campaign ads and called for two tele-rallies this month. But even though Trump retains an immense hold on the GOP, his all-court press did not spur Perdue in his tough challenge of Kemp.
On the eve of the primary, Kemp told Fox News he was “the candidate who can beat Stacey Abrams,” rebutting the former president and Perdue’s repeated arguments that Trump voters wouldn’t support the governor. in the November general election against Abrams.
But Perdue argued in a Fox News interview on Monday that the incumbent governor is “definitely vulnerable.”
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Perdue is far from the only candidate Trump backs in Georgia.
The most high-profile candidate endorsed by Trump is former college and professional soccer legend Herschel Walker, who looks set to easily win the GOP nomination en route to battling Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in a general election in success that could decide whether Republicans win support for the Senate majority.
And the former president endorsed GOP Rep. Jody Hice, one of three primary candidates challenging Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who along with Kemp resisted Trump’s calls to overturn the presidential election results. of 2020.
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Trump has also endorsed candidates in the lieutenant governor and state attorney general races, as well as a handful of congressional primaries. The former president backs right-wing GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has sparked much controversy since being elected to the House in 2020. She faces several primary opponents as she runs for re-election in the 14th congressional district in northwestern Georgia.
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