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Pence Directly Challenges Trump In Georgia; Backs Kemp Over 45’s Perdue

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Former President Donald Trump and his vice president, Mike Pence, are once again at odds.

As supporters of the former president know, in the run-up to certifying the 2020 election — a fateful made even more so by the riot at the Capitol Building — Trump put a lot of pressure on Pence to not certify electoral votes from key battleground states that had, in the view of several legal experts, improperly changed their voting rules and laws ahead of the November election.

But as president of the Senate and seeing no constitutional way he could not count all electoral votes forwarded to him by the states, Pence did what he described as his duty and certified the election for now-President Joe Biden.

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In the months that followed, some reports claimed that Trump and Pence were civil to each other and had had at least some conversations, though they eventually tapered off and the two men haven’t had any contact at all for the better part of a year, according to other reports.

There have been indications that Pence is setting himself up for a 2024 presidential bid; Trump has dropped major hints that he, too, is planning to run for his second term.

And now, the two one-time running mates are about to go head-to-head in a proxy battle for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in Georgia.

11Alive reports:

Former Vice President Mike Pence will be coming to Georgia to campaign on behalf of Gov. Brian Kemp, the governor’s campaign announced Friday morning.

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The campaign issued a release that said Pence would attend a rally with Gov. Kemp on Monday, May 23 – the day before the May 24 primaries in Georgia.

The former vice president is throwing his weight behind the governor as former President Donald Trump backs his challenger, David Perdue. …

Kemp has maintained a strong lead to earn the GOP nomination for reelection in polling ahead of Primary Day. An 11Alive poll conducted in April found he had a 56%-31% edge on Perdue, the former senator who lost his reelection bid in the Jan. 2021 runoffs.

So far, all of the GOP candidates Trump has backed have won their primaries, but Trump’s candidate is trailing — by a lot — versus Pence’s candidate. So clearly, that streak is in danger of ending.

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Also, Trump has backed another controversial candidate, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is running for the GOP nomination to replace retiring Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, though after Trump’s endorsement, the dynamics of that race changed.

In April 2021, a few months after the Jan. 6 riot, retired Army Lt. General Keith Kellogg, the National Security Council chief of staff under Trump and National Security adviser to Pence, said that the two men had engaged in some conversations.

“Absolutely. I really do,” Kellogg told the “John Solomon Reports” podcast at the time when he was asked if the two could repair their relationship which was fractured following the riot.

“They’re talking together. I know the president called him when he had his operation just recently on the pacemaker. And I know they’re talking,” Kellogg said.

Previously, Trump said he was “disappointed” that Pence went ahead and counted electoral college votes from disputed results in key battleground states following the November election.

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As for Kellogg, he further talked about his time in the Trump administration being around both leaders.

“When I used to be in the Oval with both of them, I just loved being with both of them,” he said.

“There was good banter going back and forth. And you know, and when they would talk privately, I mean, the vice president would say, ‘Give me the room,’ which means ‘leave,’ and we would get up and leave the Oval, and then he and the president would talk out there,” he said.

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“And I think they were an incredible team together going forward,” Kellogg added.

In January, however, Pence revealed that his talks with Trump trailed off last summer and had not resumed.

“You know, we talked last summer,” Pence told Fox’s Jesse Watters. “And, you know, I’ve said many times, it was difficult. Jan. 6 was difficult. It was a tragic day in the life of the nation.”

“I know I did my duty under the Constitution of the United States,” Pence added. “But the president and I sat down in the days that followed that. We spoke about it, talked through it. We parted amicably.”

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