Governor Brian P. Kemp made an attempt during his victory speech Tuesday night over primary opponent David Perdue to persuade the Republican fence-sitters to his side.
“I want to also thank David Perdue for the nice phone call that he gave in just a little while ago, pledging his full support and making sure that stays,” said Governor Kemp. “But I want to be crystal clear with all of you here tonight: our battle is far from over.”
Governor Kemp used the levers of power to nullify the Donald Trump-backed Perdue at the pass. While the national press and most MAGA-backed conservatives were focused on Kemp’s refusal to re-litigate the 2020 Presidential Election, the Governor used the 2022 legislative session to pass laws that would court and massage his most ardent detractors.
“They wanted someone who would fight for them and for their values. Someone who would put them first,” Kemp said. Others wanted someone that would look him in the eye and tell him the truth, and then do what they said they would do. So in April of 2017, I did what a lot of people said I couldn’t.”
First, Kemp sought and delivered a $250 rebate to a single taxpayer and a $500 rebate to households that jointly file taxes. Next, Kemp persuaded the legislature to take up and pass constitutional carry, a law that allows most individuals to carry concealed guns without a state-issued permit.
He championed raises for teachers, convinced the legislature to pass a transgender sports ban and pledged to ban Critical Race Theory from Georgia’s public schools, and succeeded in temporarily suspending Georgia’s gas tax during the session.
“We cracked down on gangs in human trafficking, we expanded access to rural broadband,” Kemp said. “We lowered the cost of health insurance, and we backed and continue to back our men and women in law enforcement. In Georgia, we’ve protected both lives and livelihoods during the global pandemic. We passed historic tax cuts, raised teacher pay, and brought the two largest economic development projects in state history to Georgia.”
While Perdue had Trump’s money, Kemp used the political apparatus around him to chip away at Perdue’s campaign.
Notably, Governor Kemp nominated Sonny Perdue, David’s cousin, former Georgia Governor and Trump Agriculture Secretary, to be chancellor of Georgia’s Board of Regents on February 15th. During the nomination process, David Perdue told Axios last year that his cousin hadn’t endorsed him for Governor and was “in an awkward position” because of his bid to be chancellor.
Through it all, Kemp remained a popular candidate among an Georgia Republican electorate that did not deem it necessary to settle former President Trump’s political beefs.
Tuesday night, each Trump-backed candidate for major statewide offices suffered losses. Patrick Witt was defeated by incumbent Insurance Commissioner John L. King. King carried 70% of the vote, beating the Trump-backed Witt by almost 55 points. Incumbent Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger beat the Trump-backed U.S. Representative Jody Hice. Lastly, Incumbent Attorney General Chris Carr trounced the Trump-backed candidate John Gordon.
However, Burt Jones has sewn up the nomination for Lieutenant Governor, an office that presides over the Georgia State Senate during the session.
Kemp now has his sights set on Abrams and asks his supporters to keep choppin’ wood over the next five and a half months as Election Day on November 8th looms on the horizon.
“Tonight, the fight for the soul of our state begins again to make sure that Stacey Abrams is not going to be our governor or the next president,” Kemp said.
“They’re gonna have the money. They’re gonna have every left wing politician in the country coming down here to tell you who your next governor should be. The pundits have already started doubting us. They say Stacey’s too tough to beat… for the second time I might add.”