May 19, 2022 - Politics

Trail notes: Georgia's final primary sprint

Illustration of an elephant trunk and a donkey hoof reaching for a peach.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Former President Donald Trump’s GOP primary endorsements have had a mixed record across the country so far. Now, all eyes turn to Georgia and its Tuesday primary. And both sides are making their closing arguments with high-profile national surrogates.

State of play: 18 months ago, Gov. Brian Kemp faced the worst of Trump’s ridicule and anger over the certification of the 2020 election.

  • Now he's leading by more than 20 points in an average of public polls, has out-raised challenger David Perdue by a long shot and most recently has pulled in some big-name support, including former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Mike Pence, who will headline a Cobb County rally Monday night for Kemp.

Meanwhile, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will stump with Perdue tomorrow. But Trump himself has stayed out of the state since March, recently opting for a tele-rally for David Perdue.

The big picture: West Georgia Congressman Drew Ferguson, who is in House Republican leadership and has endorsed Kemp, tells Axios the governor has “had everything coming against him.”

  • “All of the media reports, the political world, and yet he's on the verge of not just skating by to victory but winning with a pretty commanding lead,” he said.

Of note: Ferguson argues this race is not necessarily about the power of Trump’s endorsement, but looks to primaries without an incumbent for that answer, like the race for lieutenant governor.

Trail mix: Kemp told reporters at an event with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in Lawrenceville he's honored to have support from national Republicans. Ducey also faced Trump’s wrath during the 2020 election.

  • Ducey, who is also chair of the Republican Governors Association, said Kemp has “earned and deserves re-election. There's a lot of support for Gov. Kemp.”

The bottom line: Both camps argue that their respective candidates are the best option to beat Democratic hopeful Stacey Abrams in the fall. Team Kemp points out that he's already done it.

The other side: “If we don’t have David Perdue on the main ballot, then the rest of the candidates like Herschel Walker are going to suffer as a result, and we will end up with a blue Georgia,” said Lynne Patton, an adviser to Trump’s PAC, on a Team Trump bus tour stop in Moultrie.


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