Nov 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

In Georgia's Senate runoff, everyone campaigns with Brian Kemp

Brian kemp hugs Herschel Walker

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (left) hugs Senate candidate Herschel Walker in Cobb County on Saturday. Photo: Bill Barrow/AP

Ahead of the Dec. 6 Georgia Senate runoff, both Republican Herschel Walker and the Democratic incumbent, Sen. Raphael Warnock, are tying themselves to GOP Gov. Brian Kemp's popularity following his nearly 8-point general election win.

Driving the news: Warnock’s campaign recently released a statewide TV ad featuring a Republican voter who supported Warnock and Kemp. "I just can’t get past Herschel Walker’s lack of character," says the voter, Lynn Whittenburg.

Why it matters: Both campaigns are targeting the estimated 200,000 voters who split their tickets in November, crossing party lines to choose Kemp and Warnock.

Why it’s happening: “Governor Kemp is one of — if not the most important — pieces of the puzzle for a Walker victory on Dec. 6," 34N22 strategist Stephen Lawson told Axios in a statement.

What we're watching: Kemp is now campaigning for Walker after keeping his distance from the troubled fellow Republican's campaign through the Nov. 8 contest.

  • At their first joint event in Cobb County over the weekend, Kemp called the Senate candidate "my friend" and "a guy that represents our values."
  • Neither Republican took questions from the media.

The other side: Just down the road on Saturday morning, the Democratic Party of Georgia held a press conference featuring two Kemp-Warnock split-ticket voters.

  • One of them, Blake Briese, said Walker "simply just has too much baggage to be an effective leader."
  • Briese said he believes Kemp was only campaigning with Walker because "he's a Republican and that's his job. It's a little disappointing, but I'm not surprised.”

Of note: Warnock is holding a rally in Walker’s hometown of Wrightsville, Georgia, on Monday night, even though Johnson County voted for Walker nearly 3-to-1 in the general election.

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