Brian Kemp trounces Trump-backed David Perdue in a Republican primary battle for Georgia governor.

ATLANTA – In a landslide victory that represented a resounding reprimand of Donald J. Trump, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp won the Republican nomination for a second term on Tuesday, returning a Trump-driven primary challenge and delivering the former president his biggest term. setback in the primary election 2022.

Mr Trump had made defeating Kemp and his allies a top priority, and sought revenge for the decision of Governor and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to confirm the 2020 election in Georgia. After his overthrowing efforts were rejected, Trump personally recruited former Senator David Perdue to run for governor and his support for Raffensperger was one of the earliest during his term as president.

Both Mr. Kemp and Mr. Raffensperger still won – and Mr. Kemp led by about 50 percentage points with more than 90 percent of the votes counted, a blowout that easily avoided a round.

Mr Perdue had anchored his candidacy to promote fraud in the last election, accusing Kemp of both Trump’s defeat and his own loss in a 2021 round that gave Democrats control of the Senate. Mr. Trump went all in for Mr. Perdue: worked to clear the field for him, recorded television commercials, held a rally, and even transferred $ 2.64 million from his political accounts to help him.

The skewed result revealed the limits of Trump’s grip on his party’s base, marking the third week in a row that a candidate he had supported as governor had lost. It was also a sign of the declining strength of Trump’s obsession with making up for his loss in 2020 two years later.

Chris Christie, former governor of New Jersey and once a Trump adviser, who had campaigned with Mr. Kemp, celebrated on Twitterand declared that voters had rejected the “DJT Vendetta Tour.”

The victory for Mr. Kemp, 58, sets up a rematch of his 2018 battle with Stacey Abrams, 48, who won the Democratic nomination without opposition on Tuesday, in what will be one of the most-watched gubernatorial races in the country this fall. His most urgent imperative is to reunite a Republican party divided by the divisive primary.

Standing on the artificial turf on a football field inside the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta, Mr. refused. Struggle to rhetorically spearhead football. He thanked his opponent “for the lively debate” and said that Perdue had supported him in a telephone conversation.

In a moment that underscored the bitterness of the race, Perdue said in a short concession speech in Atlanta that “everything I said about Brian Kemp was true” while urging his supporters to rally against Abrams and calling Mr. Kemp for a “much better choice.”

While Georgia received the highest billing on Tuesday, several other states held primary elections, including Texas, where a mass shooting at an elementary school left at least 19 children dead and one nation in mourning. Mr Kemp had postponed his victory speech until after President Biden spoke of the White House tragedy.

In Georgia’s US Senate race, Herschel Walker, the former football star at the University of Georgia who was also recruited by Trump, won the Republican nomination and will face Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, in November. The matchup in the autumn, the results of which could tip control of the Senate, is a rare general election competition in the south that pits two black candidates against each other.

As Mr Walker slipped through the primary, his tumultuous past – including allegations of domestic abuse and his exaggerated and false claims about his business success – are expected to be more thoroughly aired in the general election.

Both parties expect Mr Walker to be the subject of forthcoming publications questioning his skills and qualifications. His Democratic opponent, Mr. Warnock, 52, one of the best fundraisers in the country, has already been on TV for several months and focused largely on positive messages.

With nearly 200 recommendations so far, Trump has set up the primary season of 2022 as a rolling referendum on his influence in the party. He has made remarkable successes, such as JD Vance in Ohio, and suffered defeats in Nebraska and Idaho. But no state has so far been as much in focus for Trump as Georgia, where he not only sat down to oust the governor but also Mr. Kemps allies over other government offices.

Mr. Trump’s election of Attorney General lost in a landslide and his election as insurance commissioner was also far behind. His choice for the open lieutenant governor’s office was ahead but possibly led to a runoff.

In the race for Secretary of State Raffensperger, the Republican in power whom Trump pressured to “find” enough votes to overthrow the early 2021 election, he averted a run-off against Representative Jody Hice, who led by about 200,000 votes early Wednesday morning. .

The Foreign Minister will serve as Georgia’s highest election official, and the winner in the autumn will have great power over how the 2024 presidential campaign will be conducted in an important battlefield.

Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, the far-right zealot, easily threw aside a more moderate challenger and won more than two-thirds of the vote in her district.

In Texas, the last descendant of Bush’s political dynasty, Land Commissioner George P. Bush, was defeated in the race of the state prosecutor and lost to the scandal-ridden incumbent Ken Paxton. And in a Democratic race along the border, Representative Henry Cuellar, one of the most moderate Democrats in the House, was locked against a progressive challenge from Jessica Cisneros who has attracted national attention.

In Alabama, three Republican candidates had competed to make the round to succeed retired Senator Richard Shelby: Representative Mo Brooks; Mike Durant, the helicopter pilot portrayed in “Black Hawk Down”; and Katie Britt, a former chief of staff for Mr. Shelby. Mr. Trump had initially backed Mr. Brooks in early 2021, but when Mr. Brooks fell in the polls, he withdrew that approval. Mr Brooks went on to the re-election with Britt, who received the most votes.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey won his primary election against two right-wing challengers.

And in Arkansas, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former White House press secretary and daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee, easily won the Republican primary for governor. Arkansas Senator John Boozman avoided a round against Jake Bequette, a former football star, in a race that has seen more than $ 7 million in television commercials.

In Georgia, Mr. Kemp methodically locked in the support of the state’s largest political actors and donors in anticipation of a Trump-led primary battle. He signed on to many conservative priorities, including a restrictive new voting law in 2021 and a gas tax holiday that extends shortly after the primary election. He also increased gun rights, raised teachers’ salaries and sent out tax rebate checks that expired in recent weeks.

All these maneuvers and more left Mr. Perdue isolated, with little to lean on in addition to the support of Mr. Trump, who has been sitting for 18 months over Mr. Kemp’s refusal to try to overthrow the 2020 election results in his state.

“His support is still important, but it comes with an asterisk,” said Stephen Lawson, a Georgia-based Republican strategist, adding that the failure of the Perdue campaign was “proof that your message must be more than that.”

Even before the election was over, Mr. Perdue’s own allies openly criticize Perdue’s effort as weak. And many national Republicans rallied behind Mr. Kemp, when the Republican Governors’ Association took the unusual step of intervening to spend more than $ 5 million on primary election ads. Ambitious potential Republican presidential candidates in 2024 campaigned for him, including Mr. Christie and, on the eve of the election, former Vice President Mike Pence.

Despite Trump’s anger and public attacks, Kemp never fired back at the former president. “I have never said anything bad about him,” said Mr. Fight on Monday. “I’m not going to do that. I’m not mad at him. I think he’s just mad at me.”

Now Mr. Kemp hopes that discipline pays off and that Mr. Trump – who at a meeting in Georgia last fall considered that Abrams “can be better than having your existing governor” – is not actively working to torpedo him in November.

Mr Walker tried to remain neutral in the governor’s primary election and refused to support or even say who he was voting for. The 60-year-old political newcomer avoided all debate during the primary election and mostly ignored his rivals in an area that included Georgia’s agricultural secretary, Gary Black.

Mr Black had repeatedly warned that the untested Mr Walker would prove ineligible – “he will never win”, Mr Black said in a recent interview – and that Republicans would regret his anointing.

One of the ways that Mr. Trump tried to make things easier for Mr. Perdue was pushing another ally, Vernon Jones, out of the governor’s race and into an open congressional race. That race was on its way to a lap.

Georgia Republicans redesigned the district lines before 2022, squeezing two House Democrats into the same suburban Atlanta district and diluting the Democratic force at another location in the southwest corner of the state held by Representative Sanford Bishop. Mr. Bishop, a Democrat, faces his first serious challenge in several years this fall.

As a result, Republicans may increase their share of the congressional delegation from 8-6 to 10-4.

In the primary election that placed two Democratic rulers against each other, Representative Lucy McBath defeated Representative Carolyn Bourdeaux on Tuesday.

Richard Fausset contributed with reporting.



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