Georgia Gubernatorial Endorsements Pit Trump Against Pence

Georgia Gubernatorial Endorsements Pit Trump Against Pence
Former Sen. David Perdue poses for a selfie with a supporter on March 7, 2022, in Commerce, Ga., during his campaign to replace incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp. (Courtesy of the Perdue for Governor campaign)
Nanette Holt
5/23/2022
Updated:
5/23/2022

Georgia voters will choose on May 24 which Republican will face Democrat voting rights activist Stacey Abrams in the state’s election for governor in November.

To avoid a June 21 primary runoff in the gubernatorial race, one candidate in the field of five must receive more than 50 percent of the vote.

After record-high early voting, Georgians will also cast ballots to narrow the field of candidates in an array of primary contests across the state. The General Election is scheduled for Nov. 8.

Republican races for Georgia’s governor and secretary of state have drawn attention nationwide, largely because the incumbents have been dogged by criticism from former President Donald Trump and his supporters.

Trump has insisted that both Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, both Republicans, didn’t do enough to investigate allegations of illegal voting after the 2020 election, especially in Fulton County.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp snaps a selfie with supporters at a campaign stop in Blakely, Ga., on April 20, 2022. (Courtesy of the Kemp for Governor campaign)
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp snaps a selfie with supporters at a campaign stop in Blakely, Ga., on April 20, 2022. (Courtesy of the Kemp for Governor campaign)

The 2020 election ousted Trump from the White House and installed Joe Biden as president.

Although Kemp is opposed by many Trump supporters, polls suggest that he may easily advance to the November battle with Abrams. Kemp triumphed over Abrams in a fight for the office in 2018. Abrams has never conceded and has continued to insist that the election was stolen from her.

Kemp is endorsed by former Vice President Mike Pence, who pledged to speak at a rally at Cobb County International Airport the night before the primary election.

Other Republican heavy-hitters who have rallied for Kemp in his reelection bid include former President George Bush, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.

Incumbent Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks at a campaign stop in Blakely, Ga. on April 20, 2022. (Courtesy of the Kemp for Governor campaign)
Incumbent Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks at a campaign stop in Blakely, Ga. on April 20, 2022. (Courtesy of the Kemp for Governor campaign)

Trump has endorsed challenger David Perdue, a former U.S. senator from Georgia. Perdue lost his Senate seat after one term in a runoff election on Jan. 5, 2021. The winner of that race was Democrat and media production company CEO Jon Ossoff.

About 55.8 percent of voters say they want Kemp to keep his job, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls conducted between April 10 and May 16. Perdue was second in the polling, with 31 percent of the vote. Running third with 4.3 percent was educator Kandiss Taylor.

Spokeswomen for both Perdue and Taylor said they believed that the polling falsely showed their candidates behind, and both predicted a far better result on Election Day. Kemp’s camp didn’t respond to requests for comment.

But artificially low polling numbers were part of Taylor’s strategy. On May 21, she told supporters in a Facebook post, “Just a reminder ... do NOT participate in polls that are sent to you. Hang up, delete the poll from your text or email, or choose one of the twin RINOs. We vote in the POLL Tuesday, May 24th!! We are going to shock the Nation!”

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Kandiss Taylor (second from left) poses with conservative activist and businessman Mike Lindell on May 7, 2022, in Georgia. Lindell has been campaigning for Taylor. (Courtesy of the Kandiss Taylor for Governor campaign)
Georgia gubernatorial candidate Kandiss Taylor (second from left) poses with conservative activist and businessman Mike Lindell on May 7, 2022, in Georgia. Lindell has been campaigning for Taylor. (Courtesy of the Kandiss Taylor for Governor campaign)

Taylor had an “Ultra MAGA” rally and worship service planned for the morning of May 22 in Forsyth, Georgia. Scheduled to appear at the event were businessman and conservative activist Mike Lindell and conservative-radio provocateur Stew Peters.

Taylor promises to “rid Georgia of election fraud; [ensure] fair, legal, secure elections; put morality over money; rid Georgia schools of CRT (Critical Race Theory), SEL (Social-Emotional Learning), and CSE (Comprehensive Sexuality Education); shut down every abortion clinic in Georgia; [implement] prison reform; stop illegal immigration; and get a handle on the opioid crisis,” spokeswoman Christi Maude told The Epoch Times in a written statement.

“Kandiss is one of the people. She is a fighter. She will not bend her knee to the establishment or backroom deals,” Maude wrote.

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Kandiss Taylor meets with supporters on May 13, 2022, at the Governor's Gun Club in Kennesaw, Ga. (Courtesy of the Kandiss Taylor for Governor campaign)
Georgia gubernatorial candidate Kandiss Taylor meets with supporters on May 13, 2022, at the Governor's Gun Club in Kennesaw, Ga. (Courtesy of the Kandiss Taylor for Governor campaign)

Taylor is a South Georgia native and 19-year educator who has worked in public schools as a third-grade teacher, school counselor, testing coordinator, student services coordinator, and homeless liaison.

The mother of three has campaigned with the slogan “Jesus, Guns, and Babies!” She has expressed disdain for the “manipulation” of public servants by special interest groups. She has said that she has a “passion for the working class, mental health, less government overreach, education, small business growth, gun rights, farmers, the economy, right to life, and election integrity.”
Perdue was CEO of Reebok, then Dollar General Corp., before winning his first election in 2014 to become a U.S. senator representing Georgia. He met his wife in the first grade, and they’ve been married for more than 40 years.

He told The Epoch Times in a written statement: “I’m running for governor to save our state. All the madness we see with the Biden Administration—two million illegals, rising gas prices, runaway inflation, the brink of war–all that started right here in Georgia, when Brian Kemp caved and allowed radical Democrats to steal the election.”

Kemp, Perdue said, has divided the Republican party and wouldn’t be able to defeat Abrams in November.

Abrams didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Former Sen. David Perdue greets supporters on March 7, 2022, at a campaign event in Commerce, Ga., for his race to unseat Gov. Brian Kemp. (Courtesy of the Perdue for governor campaign)
Former Sen. David Perdue greets supporters on March 7, 2022, at a campaign event in Commerce, Ga., for his race to unseat Gov. Brian Kemp. (Courtesy of the Perdue for governor campaign)

Perdue expressed concern about a slipping state economy and said he would “completely eliminate the state income tax.”

“Rapes and murders in Atlanta are up 60 percent,” he said. “Georgia is short over 1,200 law enforcement officers in our major cities alone. At the same time, there are more illegal immigrants in Georgia than Arizona.

“As governor, I will use every available tool, including the National Guard, if necessary, to address out-of-control crime. I will double the size of the criminal interdiction force within the Georgia State Patrol, deport criminal illegals, and appoint law-and-order judges who will ensure criminals are held accountable.”

He also expressed concern that Democrat-funded programs in Georgia schools teach children that requiring ID to vote is racist.

“That’s absurd,” Perdue said. “It’s time to stop the indoctrination, get the woke mob out of our schools, and get parents back involved.”

In the governor’s race, incumbent “Brian Kemp has got a good record to run on,” Georgia elections expert Charles Bullock told The Epoch Times. He teaches political science at the University of Georgia and has authored books on politics.

Charles "Chuck" Bullock is an expert in Southern politics and elections and teaches political science at the University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs. (Courtesy of the University of Georgia)
Charles "Chuck" Bullock is an expert in Southern politics and elections and teaches political science at the University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs. (Courtesy of the University of Georgia)

“The economy of Georgia is doing well,“ Bullock said. ”Unemployment is down very low.”

And business is moving into the state, bringing thousands of new jobs, he noted.

“There are a lot of things that the governor can point to that will be pleasing for most Georgians, and a lot of things that will fire up and satisfy the Republican primary electorate,“ Bullock said. ”It hasn’t been implemented yet, but in his first year, he passed a heartbeat bill limiting abortions. Georgia, in the last moments of the legislative session, passed legislation barring transgender students from participating in athletics other than what’s on their birth certificate. And a constitutional carry bill was passed this year.

“So those were all things which are controversial between Democrats and Republicans, but on the Republican side, they’ll all be united, supporting those.”

Nanette Holt is an Epoch Times reporter and senior features editor covering issues of national interest. Ms. Holt has had more than 30 years of experience in media and has written for Reader’s Digest, Woman’s World, Tampa Tribune, the St. Petersburg Times, and others.
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