Trump train sputters, but conservative wins continue among Georgia Republicans
The blessing of a Queens real estate developer isn’t the magic it was four years ago, but GOP voters still chose very conservative Republicans in key races in Tuesday’s primary.
First, take Brian Kemp–a Donald Trump darling in 2018, but now on the outs for declining to help the 45th president steal Georgia’s presidential votes in 2020. The incumbent governor came in first out of five gubernatorial candidates in every Georgia county in the GOP primary, and it wasn’t even close. Kemp has kept on chopping Georgians apart with wedge issues–signing bills to make it harder to get an abortion or use a ballot drop box in metro Atlanta, and to loosen gun carry laws. This time, unlike 2018, Kemp has the endorsement of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce too.
Next, the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor was one of the first Georgia elected officials to get on the Trump train back in 2015 during the presidential primary. This year, outgoing state Sen. Burt Jones of Butts County came in first of four Republican candidates in all but six of Georgia’s 159 counties. Jones’ campaign was eased by both Trump’s nod and enough wealth to loan his own campaign $2 million. As of about the middle of May, Jones had raised about $8 million–more than twice the haul of his top GOP rival, outgoing state Sen. Butch Miller.
Herschel Walker carried all counties in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate. He had Trump’s endorsement, but that effect is hard to untangle from his name recognition for having been a UGA football legend two generations ago.
Geography came into play most clearly in the secretary of state race, where incumbent Brad Raffensperger won, avoiding a runoff with Trump-endorsed Congressman Jody Hice. Hice did best in his east Georgia district, coming in first in 26 counties, but more populous metro Atlanta went for a guy who at least knows and says that the 2020 election wasn’t stolen from Trump.
Maps by Maggie Lee