How brutal infighting among Georgia Republicans may give 'prodigious fundraiser' Stacey Abrams an advantage in 2022
After narrowly losing to Gov. Brian Kemp in 2018, Democratic activist Stacey Abrams has announced that she is running for governor of Georgia in the 2022 midterms. Liberal Washington Post opinion writer Eugene Robinson, in his December 6 column, stresses that nasty infighting among Georgia Republicans may work to Abrams’ advantage.
“Anyone who thinks the Republican Party is some kind of well-oiled juggernaut ready to steamroll Democrats in November might want to check out what’s happening in Georgia, where the GOP is busy trying to steamroll itself,” Robinson argues. “Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who is seeking reelection, got bad news last week when he learned that his likely Democratic opponent will be Stacey Abrams, who came within a hair of beating him in 2018. He got worse news on Monday, when former Sen. David Perdue — defeated in his reelection bid in January — announced he will challenge Kemp in the GOP gubernatorial primary.”
The 67-year-old columnist, who frequently appears on MSNBC, continues, “In what, for decades, has been a reliably red state, the Republican Party has lost both U.S. Senate seats to Democrats and stands a real chance of losing the governor’s mansion as well. And all of this reflects the GOP’s devolution into a cult of personality devoted to former President Donald Trump — a nationwide phenomenon that could affect key races elsewhere as well.”
During the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, Georgia was far from a swing state. But that changed during the Donald Trump years. Abrams came within striking distance of Kemp in the 2018 midterms, and now-President Joe Biden carried Georgia in 2020. Then, in January, Georgia elected two Democrats to the U.S. Senate: Sen. Raphael Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossoff.
Although Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger are hardly liberal, they committed a cardinal sin in the minds of MAGA wingnuts when they acknowledged that Biden won the state fairly in 2020. And both of them are being primaried by Trump sycophants.
“When President Biden narrowly won the state last year, Kemp — long an enthusiastic, MAGA-hat-wearing Trump supporter — showed some integrity and refused to go along with Trump’s false claims of voter fraud,” Robinson explains. “Ever since, Trump has been incensed with him and bent on revenge. Trump wants to see Abrams defeated, he said in a statement last week, ‘but it will be hard to do with Brian Kemp, because the MAGA base will just not vote for him after what he did with respect to Election Integrity and two horribly run elections, for President and then two Senate seats.’”
Trump, Robinson notes, has been “regularly trashing Kemp in the pompous statements he issues from Mar-a-Lago” and “has been encouraging Perdue to challenge the incumbent.”
“The lesson other Republicans across the nation are meant to learn is that unless they go along with Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ about the 2020 election supposedly being ‘stolen,’ they will pay a price,” Robinson observes. “Perdue clearly has been paying attention.”
Robinson notes that if Kemp defeats Perdue in the primary, he may be going up against Abrams — a Democratic rock star — in the general election in a weakened state. Kemp, according to Robinson, “might have to spend so heavily against Perdue that he could have a depleted war chest in a general election against Abrams, a prodigious fundraiser.”
Robinson writes, “Does anyone doubt that a primary victory by Kemp would be spun by Trump as yet another ‘rigged’ election? Does anyone think Trump would be big enough to advise Republicans to unite behind Kemp, whom he so despises? Or is he more likely, once again, to tell them that their votes won’t matter? The GOP had the chance to make a definitive break with Trump after the Capitol insurrection in January. The party decided to stick with him — and now, it’s stuck with him.”
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