Meet Brian Kemp: The man who could deal a blow to Donald Trump in Georgia

Brian Kemp charges into Tuesday’s primary with a double-digit polling lead over Trump-backed David Perdue

John Bowden
Monday 23 May 2022 22:33
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Voters In Four States Heading To The Polls Tuesday

Brian Kemp, the 58-year-old governor of Georgia, is far from a household name outside of his home state.

But on Tuesday he may become known, in at least some circles, as the man who did the impossible: Defeat a candidate backed by Donald Trump in a Republican primary in the deep south.

That certainly looks to be the case as he charges into Tuesday’s primary with a double-digit polling lead over David Perdue, the Trump acolyte who looks to be set to deliver the former president his first defeat of the 2022 primary season.

Mr Kemp is a one-term governor who previously enjoyed Mr Trump’s support in his last run for governor, even appearing with him at least once at a rally in the state. But in 2020 his divorce from Mr Trump was finalised when he refused to call on Georgia’s state legislature to overturn the president’s defeat in the state, a GOP stronghold that also saw both of its Senate seats flip blue after a January 2021 runoff. That same runoff saw Mr Perdue ousted from the Senate days before the chamber debated objections to the 2020 election’s certification, objections which Mr Perdue said he would support.

Now the governor remains a favourite of many conservatives in the state thanks to support for voter ID restrictions, and support for restrictions against transgender students and the teaching of so-called "critical race theory".

He also is prepared to fight the GOP’s next Culture War battle. In early May, as news first broke that the Supreme Court appears to be on the verge of overturning Roe v Wade, Mr Kemp signaled that he would not rule out the possibility of signing into law a total ban on abortions in the state of Georgia should the precedent be thrown out.

With his likely win on Tuesday, the Georgia governor will not only strengthen his credentials as a national leader within the GOP but deal a blow to the ex-president who tried to spurn him as well.

One factor remains after Tuesday, however: Stacey Abrams, the activist and former state lawmaker who is seeking a rematch against Mr Kemp after her 2018 bid ended in a general election marred by accusations of interference and voter suppression.

Ms Abrams will advance to the general election on Tuesday after running unopposed for her party’s nomination.

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