In another sign that former Vice President Mike Pence probably won’t be joining Trump on a possible 2024 presidential ticket, Pence has announced that he has endorsed Governor Brian Kemp in his bid for reelection in Georgia and will campaign for him. This is in start contrast to former President Donald Trump, who has made his disdain for the Georgia governor very clear on many occasions.
Georgia’s gubernatorial primary election is set for May 24, and The Hill reports that Pence has announced he’ll take part in a rally for Kemp scheduled for May 23.
In a statement released today by the Kemp campaign, Pence said that Kemp is “one of the most successful conservative governors in America.”
NEW: Former VP Mike Pence will headline an election-eve rally for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
— Blayne Alexander (@ReporterBlayne) May 13, 2022
“He built a safer and stronger Georgia,” the statement continues, “by cutting taxes, empowering parents and investing in teachers, funding law enforcement, and standing strong for the right to life. Brian Kemp is my friend, a man dedicated to faith, family, and the people of Georgia. I am proud to offer my full support for four more years of Brian Kemp as governor of the great state of Georgia!”
Whether the endorsement will help his cause remains to be seen, but Kemp was clearly thrilled to have Pence’s support.
“The Vice President’s leadership was instrumental in creating the most prosperous economy in American history,” Kemp stated in the same campaign statement, “including here in Georgia, and his commitment to building a safer, stronger represents the highest ideals of our party. We could not be more grateful for his friendship to our family and state, and we look forward to welcoming him back to the campaign trail in Georgia!”
Kemp, it probably goes without saying, is persona non grata with Trump, who has continually targeted him for his failure to arrange proper safeguards around the 2020 election. The state’s elections, particularly in heavily Democratic Fulton County (which includes Atlanta,) have been the subject of much criticism, with state officials having to deal with allegations of election chicanery and fraud.
On Wednesday, Trump issued a statement of his own, in which he savaged Kemp and those who support him—which now includes former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts.
“Today, the worst ‘election integrity’ Governor in the country, Brian Kemp, loaded the great state of Georgia up with RINOs,” Trump said. “That’s right, he had them all. Chris Christie, Doug Ducey from Arizona, and Pete Ricketts from Nebraska. That tells you all you need to know about what you are getting in Georgia—just a continuation of bad elections and a real RINO if you vote for Brian Kemp.”
For his part, Trump has backed former senator David Perdue in the state’s Republican primary.
Many see Pence’s moves as a strategic play in the hopes to run for president:
Looks like Pence is setting things up for a possible 2024 run. Would you vote for him ?🤔
— Judge Jeanine Pirro Fans (@PirroFans) May 12, 2022
Mike Pence is campaigning for President already. I hope he understands NO ONE is voting for him. He will be an absolute ZERO on election day.
— Wendy Rogers (@WendyRogersAZ) May 13, 2022
Steve Bannon responds to the news Mike Pence will be campaigning for Brian Kemp. pic.twitter.com/9pF95KH4pk
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) May 13, 2022
Whoever wins the primary race later this month will then have to go on to face Stacey Abrams, who lost her 2018 election bid for Georgia governor and has complained ever since that she did, in fact, win, and that the election was stolen from her. Interestingly, the same actors who howl about Trump’s complaints about a stolen Georgia election tacitly condoned Abrams’ identical claims for years.
As far as the likely outcome of the race in November, it’s currently anyone’s guess—according to the Cook Political Report, Georgia remains a “toss-up.”
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