https://www.theepochtimes.com/kemp-raffensperger-overcome-anger-and-trumps-disapproval-in-georgia_4491551.html

Their feelings motivated by former president Donald Trump, many conservative Georgians are still angry that Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger didn’t do more to investigate claims of widespread fraud related to the 2020 election.

That displeasure didn’t prevent the two incumbents from winning their respective GOP primaries on May 24.

Kemp, who was endorsed by former vice president Mike Pence, prevailed in a landslide over Trump-backed David Perdue.

Raffensperger avoided a runoff by surpassing 50 percent of the vote and defeated Trump-endorsed congressman Jody Hice (R–Ga.).

“In essence, [former] president Trump, along with his supporters’ grievances from the 2020 Presidential Election, is on the ballot,” national politics expert Peter Bergerson, a political science professor with Florida Gulf Coast University before the primary.

Kemp earned a resounding victory with 883,263 votes (73.70 percent) compared to Hice’s 261,278 votes (21.80 percent), according to updated figures from Decision Desk HQ on May 25.

Trump personally recruited Perdue to challenge the incumbent governor.

Kemp had his share of support from Republicans and even Trump supporters who are satisfied with his performance.

Support For Kemp

A Republican party county chair in Georgia who is a staunch Trump supporter told The Epoch Times that, aside from questions about how he responded to the election fraud claims in 2020, Kemp has “done an admirable job and deserves another term.”

“He is a conservative who managed the COVID crisis effectively and, as a result, businesses and communities in Georgia are better off than states with governors who shut down for a longer period of time,” he said.

“We need true conservative leadership across the board in Georgia, and he [Kemp] does that.”

A northwest Georgia voter named Diane, who backed Trump-endorsed Herschel Walker in the U.S. Senate primary and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District primary, said she also cast her ballot for Kemp.

“He cares about issues that are important to Georgia, and he is focused on solutions and not politics,” Diane said outside a voting precinct in Dallas, Georgia, on May 24.

“He is pro-life. He protects the Second Amendment. He re-opened the state early on during COVID, and that helped our economy. All of these things are important to me.”

At his watch party in downtown Atlanta, Kemp encouraged Georgia Republicans to unify and defeat Democratic primary winner and former state representative Stacey Abrams in November.

He also praised supporters for ignoring Trump’s message about the race.

“Even in the middle of a tough primary, conservatives across our state didn’t listen to the noise. They didn’t get distracted,” Kemp said.

Former senator David Perdue greets supporters March 7, 2022, at a campaign event in Commerce, Ga.. (Courtesy of the Perdue for Governor campaign)

Perdue, a former Georgia U.S. Senator, echoed Kemp’s call for unity.

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

“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.”

Electing Kemp to another term and preventing Abrams from taking the office should be a top priority for Georgians in November, Pence said at a rally on May 23.

“Who is best positioned to defeat Stacey Abrams and the national Democrats that will descend on Georgia in this fall’s election?” Pence asked the crowd.

“You know the answer. Brian Kemp beat Stacey Abrams four years ago, and with your support, Brian Kemp will do it all again in November.”

‘An Unmitigated Disaster’

Abrams will be “an unmitigated disaster for the people of Georgia” if she wins, Pence added.

“She may be the weakest candidate on crime in the history of Georgia. She supports taxpayer-funded abortion on demand all the way up to the moment of birth,” he said.

“She supports gun control and higher taxes. She wants to give illegal immigrants free health care, free welfare, and free college, and send you the bill.”

Hice, who has served four terms representing Georgia’s 10th District in the U.S. House, joined Trump in saying that the 2020 election results were swayed by widespread fraud, including in Georgia.

Georgia's Secretary Of State Holds News Conference On Election Ballot Count
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger holds a press conference on the status of ballot counting in Atlanta, Ga., on Nov. 6, 2020. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Since Raffensperger’s office oversees elections that has made him a target for Trump and his most ardent supporters.

Raffensperger gained 607,935 votes (52.32 percent) followed by Hice at 387,669 (33.37 percent) with 95 percent of the ballots counted, Decision Desk HQ reported on May 25.

Leading up to the primary, it appeared that the secretary of state’s race could end up in a runoff.

A Survey USA poll conducted between April 22 and April 27 showed that Raffensperger led with 30 percent of the vote followed by Hice at 20 percent. Nine percent of the remaining respondents were split between two other candidates.

In that survey, 40 percent of voters were undecided.

M.V. Hood III, a professor of political science at the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs and director of the school’s Survey Research Center, coordinated a poll in April that found Hice was ahead at 30.3 percent followed by Raffensperger with 22.7 percent.

Hice, former Alpharetta mayor David Belle Isle, and former probate and magistrate judge T.J. Hudson ran campaigns questioning how Raffensperger handled the 2020 election.

All three challengers said that Georgians lost confidence in the system as a result of Raffensperger’s response.

Raffensperger Defends Record

Raffensperger vigorously defended his record and said that Georgia’s elections are fair and secure.

He insisted that he made the right decision when he turned down Trump’s demand to overturn the 2020 Presidential Election results in Georgia.

He pointed out that he wholeheartedly supported a restrictive voting bill signed into law by Kemp in 2021.

On the campaign trail, Raffensperger pointed out that The Heritage Foundation named Georgia the top state in the country for election integrity.

He also mentioned that he is the first and only Georgia Secretary of State to conduct a full citizenship check of the state’s voter rolls and that in 2019 he made ballot harvesting illegal.

Raffensperger ignored the polls and embarked on a statewide tour talking to Georgia citizens.

“I put over 40,000 miles on my truck in the last year, just visiting people, all parts of the state,” he said at his victory party on May 24.

The Democratic primary is headed for a runoff as state representative Bee Nguyen received 43 percent of the vote and will face Dee Dawkins-Haigler, who finished a distant second with 19 percent.

Raffensperger, the winning Democrat, Libertarian Ted Metz, and nonpartisan candidate Brenda Nelson-Porter are the candidates who will appear on the ballot in the general election.

Trump did get some good news in Georgia on May 24 as Greene and Walker decisively won their primaries and are expected to prevail in November.

Greene is one of Trump’s most loyal supporters among U.S. House members and Walker is a devoted Trump ally who is endorsed by the former president.

Jeff Louderback

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Jeff Louderback is a national reporter for The Epoch Times who is based in Ohio and covers U.S. Senate, U.S. House and gubernatorial races in Ohio and surrounding states.

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