Trump suffers stinging losses in Georgia Republican contests

25 May 2022, 08:34

Brian Kemp
Election 2022 Georgia. Picture: PA

Governor Brian Kemp easily defeated Donald Trump’s hand-picked challenger in the critical swing state.

Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia has easily dispatched Donald Trump’s hand-picked challenger in a Republican primary that demonstrated the limits of the former president and his conspiracy-fuelled politics in a critical US swing state.

Mr Kemp will face Democrat Stacey Abrams this autumn in what will be one of America’s most consequential governor’s races.

The results, combined with the loss of the Trump-backed candidate for Georgia’s secretary of state, served as a stinging rebuke for the former president in a state he prioritised above almost all others.

Angered by Mr Kemp’s refusal to go along with his extraordinary effort to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia, Mr Trump personally recruited former senator David Perdue to challenge the sitting governor.

Election 2022 Arkansas
Chris Jones hugs his family as he celebrates winning the Democratic Party’s nomination for Governor during a watch party at the Venue at Westwind in Little Rock, Arkansas (The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

He also helped clear the primary field and spent more than three million US dollars (£2.39 million) on the failed effort.

Mr Kemp ultimately emerged as a powerful candidate able to draw prolific fundraising totals that helped him flood Georgia with television and other ads.

He tapped into the power of his office to show voters what he could do for them, unveiling a 5.5 billion dollar (£4.3 billion), 8,100-job Hyundai Motor plant near Savannah in the final days of the campaign.

“Even in the middle of a tough primary, conservatives across our state didn’t listen to the noise. They didn’t get distracted,” Mr Kemp told cheering supporters, before calling on his party to rally behind his campaign.

In defeat, Mr Perdue struck a unifying tone that has become increasingly rare in a Republican Party dominated by Mr Trump’s hardline tactics.

Sarah Sanders
Sarah Sanders is greeted by supporters after winning the Republican nomination for Arkansas governor (The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

“I want you to know tonight that I am fully supporting Brian Kemp in his run to beat Stacey Abrams,” Mr Perdue said.

“It’s emotional for all of us, we’re disappointed, I get that. Let’s take a few hours, lick our wounds, and tomorrow morning, you’re going to hear me going to work for Brian Kemp to make damn sure that Stacey Abrams is never governor of Georgia.”

In all, five states were voting on Tuesday, including Alabama, Arkansas, Texas and Minnesota. But none had been more consumed than Georgia by Mr Trump and his lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

Altogether, Mr Trump failed to replace all four Republican incumbents he targeted in the state, including the governor, attorney general and secretary of state.

Secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, who refused to support the former president’s direct calls to overturn the 2020 election, defeated Mr Trump’s choice, Jody Hice.

Sarah Sanders supporters
Sarah Sanders supporters cheer (The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

The Georgia losses become the latest examples of a primary setback for Mr Trump’s preferred candidates, who have lost governor’s races in Idaho and Nebraska.

A Pennsylvania senate primary is too close to call a week after the election.

However, Tuesday’s contests underlined the sustained power of Trumpism in Republican politics 18 months after he was voted out of office.

His preferred senate candidate in Georgia, Herschel Walker, easily won the nomination despite warnings from Mr Walker’s Republican competitors about his history of domestic violence and mental health struggles.

He will face Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock in the autumn in a race that could determine control of the chamber.

Herschel Walker
Herschel Walker speaks to members of the media after his Republican Primary wins (Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Regardless of Mr Trump’s involvement in their races, virtually all of the Republican candidates — even Mr Kemp — ran on “election integrity”.

That phrase that has emerged as a code for the former president’s baseless grievances about the 2020 election, which were roundly rejected by courts and his own attorney general.

Conservative candidates from Georgia to Arkansas to Texas also leaned into Mr Trump’s preferred culture wars by playing up concerns about transgender athletes, “critical race theory” and illegal immigration.

Sensing Mr Kemp’s strength in Georgia, however, other prominent Republicans had grown increasingly willing to defy the former president.

Mr Trump’s own vice president, Mike Pence, rallied with Mr Kemp in the Atlanta suburbs on Monday evening. Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who also campaigned for Mr Kemp and has been critical of Mr Trump, described his victory as “enormous”.

“I am so proud of and happy for my friend — and just as importantly for the Georgia GOP and the people of Georgia,” Mr Christie tweeted. “They were not going to kick out a great governor or be willing participants in the DJT (Donald J Trump) Vendetta Tour.”

Elsewhere, former Trump White House press secretary Sarah Sanders won the Republican governor’s nomination in Arkansas.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Oscar Pistorius has met with the father of Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius meets victim Reeva Steenkamp's father in a bid for parole

North Korea has blamed its Covid outbreak on 'alien things' and balloons coming from South Korea.

North Korea blames Covid outbreak on 'alien things' and balloons from South

Exclusive
Boris Johnson said Putin does not have to give up power for there to be peace in Ukraine

Putin's made more than 30 nuke threats during Ukraine invasion, Boris tells LBC

Russian President Vladimir Putin has hit back at western leaders for their lack of "machismo" and said it would be ‘disgusting’ to see Boris Johnson topless.

Putin mocks G7 leaders' lack of 'machismo' and says PM would look 'disgusting' topless

Ukraine has retaken Snake Island after Moscow's troops abandoned the strategic outpost in what Russia's Defence Ministry has described as a 'goodwill gesture'.

'Kaboom!' Ukraine celebrates Putin's humiliation as Russia retreats from Snake Island

President Joe Biden listens as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks

Ketanji Brown Jackson to be sworn in as US Supreme Court justice

An investigator works outside the Bataclan concert hall (Christophe Ena/PA)

Life without parole for surviving extremist who carried out Paris attacks

A shark is seen swimming across a sand bar (Phil Marcelo/AP)

Great white sharks head to Cape Cod as busy tourist season gets under way

Police outside the Bataclan concert hall in Paris (Catherine Wylie/PA)

Men convicted of involvement in 2015 terror attacks in Paris

Salah Abdeslam is believed to be the only surviving member of the group that killed 130 people in the 2015 Paris attacks

Islamic State member found guilty of mass murder for 2015 Paris terror attacks

Vatican Pope Pelosi

Pro-choice Nancy Pelosi receives communion at Vatican despite home city ban

Workers clear debris at the Kremenchuk shopping centre damaged in the Russian rocket attack

Search ongoing for 20 missing after Russian strike on Ukraine shopping centre

People attend a community vigil for the dozens of people found dead in a trailer in San Antonio

‘Difficult process’ identifying Texas lorry trailer death victims – authorities

World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

US abortion ruling ‘a setback’ that will cost lives, says WHO chief

Dutch farmers protesting against government plans gather for a demonstration at Stroe

Dutch PM condemns farmers’ protests at minister’s home

Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, is sworn in by committee chairman Bennie Thompson

Trump dismissed January 6 threats and wanted to join crowd, says former aide