Brian Kemp defeats Trump-backed David Perdue in a Republican primary battle for Georgia governor.

ATLANTA — In a landslide victory that represented a resounding rebuke from Donald J. Trump, Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia won the Republica...


ATLANTA — In a landslide victory that represented a resounding rebuke from Donald J. Trump, Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia won the Republican nomination for a second term on Tuesday, fending off a primary challenge fueled by Trump and offering the former president his biggest poll. reverse of the 2022 primaries.

Mr. Trump had made defeating Mr. Kemp and his allies a top priority, seeking revenge for Governor and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s decision to certify Georgia’s 2020 election. After his subversion efforts were rebuffed, Mr Trump personally recruited former senator David Perdue to run for governor and his endorsement against Mr Raffensperger was one of the first of his post-presidency.

Mr. Kemp and Mr. Raffensperger still won – and Mr. Kemp led by around 50 percentage points with more than 90% of the votes counted, a blowout that easily avoided a runoff.

Mr. Perdue had anchored his candidacy on promoting lies about fraud in the last election, blaming Mr. Kemp for both defeating Mr. Trump and his own loss in a 2021 runoff that gave the Democrats control of the Senate. Mr. Trump has done everything for Mr. Perdue: working to clear the ground for him, taping TV commercials, hosting a rally and even transferring $2.64 million from his political accounts to help him.

The lopsided result exposed the limits of Mr Trump’s grip on his party base, marking the third week in a row that a candidate he backed for governor had lost. It was also a sign of the waning potency of Mr. Trump’s obsession with reviving his 2020 loss two years later.

Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey and former adviser to Trump, who had campaigned with Mr. Kemp, celebrated on Twitterstating that voters had rejected “the DJT Vendetta Tour”.

The win for Mr Kemp, 58, sets up a rematch of his 2018 battle with Stacey Abrams, 48, who won the Democratic nomination unopposed on Tuesday, in what will be one of the most-watched governor in the country this fall. His most pressing imperative is to reunite a Republican party fractured by the divisive primary.

Standing on the artificial turf of a football field inside the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta, Mr. Kemp refused to rhetorically drive the football up high. He thanked his opponent ‘for the lively debate’ and said Mr Perdue had backed him in a phone call.

In a moment that underscored the bitterness of the race, Mr. Perdue said in a short concession speech in Atlanta that “everything I said about Brian Kemp was true” while urging his supporters to mustering against Ms. Abrams, calling Mr. Kemp a “far better choice.”

While Georgia received the top spot on Tuesday, several other states held primaries, including Texas, where a mass shooting at an elementary school left at least 19 people dead and a nation in mourning. Mr Kemp had delayed his victory speech until President Biden spoke about the tragedy from the White House.

In Georgia’s U.S. Senate race, Herschel Walker, the former University of Georgia football star who was also recruited by Mr Trump, won the Republican nomination and will face Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, in November. The fall clash, the outcome of which could swing Senate control, is a rare Southern general election pitting two black candidates against each other.

As Mr Walker has weathered the primary, his tumultuous past – including accusations of domestic abuse and his exaggerated and false claims about his business success – are set to receive greater airing in the general election.

Both parties expect Mr. Walker to be the subject of future advertisements questioning his competence and credentials. His Democratic opponent, Mr Warnock, 52, one of the country’s top fundraisers, has already been on television for months, focusing largely on positive messaging.

With nearly 200 endorsements so far, Mr. Trump has framed the 2022 primary season as an ongoing referendum on his influence within the party. He has achieved notable major successes, such as JD Vance in Ohioand suffered defeats in Nebraska and Idaho. But so far, no state has captured Mr. Trump’s attention more than Georgia, where he has moved not only to oust the governor, but also Mr. Kemp’s allies in other offices of the state.

Mr. Trump’s choice for attorney general was lost in a landslide and his choice for insurance commissioner was also far behind. His pick for the open office of lieutenant governor was ahead but possibly heading for a runoff.

In the race for Secretary of State, Mr Raffensperger, the Republican incumbent whom Mr Trump lobbied to ‘find’ enough votes to cancel the election in early 2021, avoided a runoff against Rep. Jody Hice , leading by about 200,000 votes early Wednesday morning. .

The Secretary of State is the top election official in Georgia, and the winner in the fall will have a big influence on how the 2024 presidential campaign will be fought in a key battleground state.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, the right-wing brand, easily brushed off a more moderate challenger, winning more than two-thirds of the vote in her district.

In Texas, the last scion of the Bush political dynasty, Land Commissioner George P. Bush, was defeated in the race for state attorney general, losing to scandal-ridden incumbent Ken Paxton. And in a Democratic contest along the border, Rep. Henry Cuellar, one of the more moderate Democrats in the House, was deadlocked against a Jessica Cisneros’ progressive challenge that captured national attention.

In Alabama, three Republican candidates had contested the second round to succeed incumbent Senator Richard Shelby: Representative Mo Brooks; Mike Durant, the helicopter pilot featured in “Black Hawk Down”; and Katie Britt, Mr Shelby’s former chief of staff. Mr. Trump originally endorsed Mr. Brooks in early 2021, but as Mr. Brooks slumped in the polls, he rescinded that endorsement. Mr Brooks qualified for the second round with Ms Britt, who received the most votes.

Governor Kay Ivey of Alabama won her primary against two right-wing challengers.

And in Arkansas, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House press secretary and daughter of former Governor Mike Huckabee, easily won the Republican primary for governor. Arkansas Sen. John Boozman avoided a runoff against former soccer star Jake Bequette in a run that saw more than $7 million in TV ads.

In Georgia, Mr. Kemp had methodically locked in support from the state’s biggest political players and donors in anticipation of a primary battle led by Trump. He signed into law many Conservative priorities, including a restrictive new election law in 2021 and a gas tax holiday that extends just after the primary. He also expanded gun rights, increased teachers’ salaries and sent tax refund checks that have been issued in recent weeks.

All of these maneuvers and more have left Mr. Perdue isolated, with little support beyond the backing of Mr. Trump, who has been seething for 18 months over Mr. Kemp’s refusal to try to overturn the results. 2020 elections in his state.

“His endorsement is still important, but it comes with an asterisk,” said Stephen Lawson, a Georgia-based Republican strategist, adding that the failed Perdue campaign was “positive proof that your message needs to be more than that”.

Even before the end of the elections, the candidate of Mr. Perdue own allies began to openly criticize the Perdue effort as dull. And many national Republicans rallied behind Mr. Kemp, as the Republican Governors Association took the unusual step of stepping in to spend more than $5 million on ads in the primary. Ambitious potential Republican 2024 presidential candidates have campaigned for him, including Mr. Christie and, on the eve of the election, former Vice President Mike Pence.

Despite Mr. Trump’s anger and public attacks, Mr. Kemp has never hit back at the former president. “I never said anything bad about him,” Mr Kemp said on Monday. “I have no intention of doing this. I’m not mad at him. I think he’s just mad at me.

Now Mr. Kemp must hope that the discipline pays off and that Mr. Trump – who thought at a rally in Georgia last fall that Ms. Abrams “could be better than having your current governor” – does not not actively working to torpedo her in November.

Mr Walker tried to remain neutral in the governor’s primary, refusing to endorse or even say who he was voting for. The 60-year-old political newcomer avoided debate during the primary and mostly ignored his rivals in a field that included Georgia Agriculture Secretary Gary Black.

Mr Black had repeatedly warned that the untested Mr Walker would prove ineligible – “he will never win”, Mr Black said in a recent interview – and that Republicans would come to regret his anointing.

One of the ways Mr. Trump tried to smooth the way for Mr. Perdue was to push another ally, Vernon Jones, out of the gubernatorial race and into an open contest in Congress. This race was headed for a second round.

Georgia Republicans redrew district lines ahead of 2022, cramming two House Democrats into the same suburban Atlanta district and diluting the Democratic strength of another seat in the southwestern corner of the state held by Rep. Sanford Bishop. Mr. Bishop, a Democrat, faces his first serious challenge in years this fall.

As a result, Republicans could increase their share of the congressional delegation from 8-6 to 10-4.

In the primary that pitted two Democratic incumbents against each other, Rep. Lucy McBath defeated Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux on Tuesday.

Richard Fausset contributed report.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Brian Kemp defeats Trump-backed David Perdue in a Republican primary battle for Georgia governor.
Brian Kemp defeats Trump-backed David Perdue in a Republican primary battle for Georgia governor.
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