OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A political action committee linked to former President Donald Trump is planning to spend a large amount of money in an effort to defeat GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, whom Trump endorsed in 2018 but who drew his ire in the aftermath of the 2020 election results in the Peach State.
As reported by Politico, Trump’s Save America PAC has transferred $500,000 to another super PAC that is dedicated to Kemp’s defeat in the state’s GOP primary, which is scheduled for May 24.
Trump has vowed his full support, as well as a massive campaign war chest, to the campaign of former Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), who won his initial race against now-Democratic Sen. David Ossoff but not by a large enough margin to avoid a run-off in early January 2021, which he lost after hundreds of thousands of Republican voters in Georgia stayed home.
If Perdue were to come out on top, then he will most likely face off against Democratic gubernatorial challenger Stacey Abrams, who lost to Kemp nearly four years ago.
“President Trump is committed to supporting his endorsed candidates across the nation, but we won’t be telegraphing our efforts to the media,” Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich said recently in a statement.
Four years ago, Trump and Kemp were apparently on good terms. During his initial bid for governor in the spring of 2018, Kemp even identified as a pro-Trump, America First candidate.
However, things soured after that between the politicians, especially when Kemp rejected the Trump campaign’s request to call a legislative special session to review Georgia’s results in the 2020 presidential election — thus angering Trump, the nation’s 45th commander-in-chief.
President Joe Biden (49.5% of the vote) defeated Trump in Georgia’s 2020 presidential race by a razor-thin margin of 0.2%.
Trump’s political operation has managed to sock away some $110 million in cash, part of which he has vowed to use to support ‘America First’ candidates for public office. Most recently, Trump threw his support behind Sarah Palin, the late Sen. John McCain’s 2008 running mate and a former governor of Alaska, who is vying for the state’s lone House seat.
Trump’s gambit to push Perdue over the top, though, appears to be an uphill battle, however.
According to RealClearPolitics, Gov. Kemp leads Perdue in five different primary polls, with an average advantage of 9.4 percentage points.
RCP tracking polls also have the eventual winner of Perdue vs. Kemp leading Democrat Stacey Abrams in hypothetical general election polls.
Trump has also acknowledged that it’ll be tough unseat Kemp.
“It’s always hard to beat a sitting governor,” Trump admitted in a recent radio interview. “It’s very hard to beat, because [incumbents] have a lot of money behind them. You know, everybody is giving them money.”
“But we will see what happens.”
For his part, Kemp’s war chest is sizeable as well.
According to AdImpact, cited by Politico, Kemp and allied groups have spent or reserved $11.4 million worth of TV ads in Georgia, compared to just $2.7 million for the pro-Perdue effort.
Trump lambasted Kemp at a recent rally in Commerce, Ga., calling him a “coward” and referring to him as a “turncoat.”
“Brian Kemp is a turncoat; he’s a coward,” Trump told the rally, adding that Kemp has made Georgia elections “a complete and total disaster.”
“Eight months from now the people of Georgia going to vote to fire radical Democrats and are going elect a friend of mine and a great man — great senator and a great man — David Perdue as your governor,” Trump said. “We need him. We need him badly.
“Before we can defeat the Democrats, socialists, and communists, which is exactly what we’re running against at the ballot boxes next fall, we first have to defeat the RINOs, sellouts, and the losers in the primaries this spring. We have a big primary coming up right here in your state. We’re going to throw out a very, very sad situation that took place here: RINO Gov. Brian Kemp,” Trump continued.
“And we’re going to replace him with a very strong person and a fearless fighter and somebody that frankly got screwed in the last election; David Perdue never lost in his life.”