“I just want to find 11,780 votes.” That phrase was prominent in the hour-long call between former US President Donald Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger days after the 2020 presidential election. In that conversation, unveiled by The Washington Post, Trump repeatedly pressured the state official and his collaborators to alter the electoral result and give him a winner in Georgia. Raffensperger and State Governor Brian Kemp stood their ground and refused to cheat. Now, Trump seeks revenge.
When there are still no results from the key State of Pennsylvania, this Tuesday the Georgia primaries arrive to elect the candidates who will face each other on November 8 in the mid-term elections. In them, the entire House of Representatives, a third of the Senate and numerous state and local positions are renewed. In Georgia, in addition to candidates for Congress, governor and secretary of state are elected, among other positions. Raffensperger and Kemp aspire to repeat, but Trump tries not to do so and has given his support to two alternative candidates.
Kemp’s rival, former Sen. David Perdue, was campaigning last weekend in front of a large banner reading “Trump Won.” It may seem like a folkloric phrase, in the style of “Elvis lives”, but fed by politicians who embrace conspiracy theories and the media and social networks that air them, many Republican voters believe the hoax that the 2020 presidential elections were already rigged Trump was robbed of his victory.
A survey this year from a research center of the School of Public and International Affairs of the University of Georgia pointed out that 73.6% of Republican voters in the state believed that in the 2020 presidential elections there was “massive electoral fraud.” It was the first time a Republican had lost Georgia in the presidential election since 1992.
One of the great voices of that conspiracy theory is Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, known as MTG. The last occurrence of her has been inadvertently connecting the recent cases of monkeypox with Bill Gates, one of the favorite targets of conspiracy theories, suggesting that he stands to make a lot of money from the outbreak. MTG campaigned Friday at the same biker festival as Perdue, but while she was seen in her element hopping on a Harley, drinking beer or joking with attendees, Perdue seemed a bit out of place.
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Perdue has been out of line for most of the campaign and, despite Trump’s support, trails Kemp in the polls. He was CEO of big companies like Reebok or Dollar General. He was elected senator in 2014, but remained very active in business dealings with suspected conflicts of interest or insider trading. After serving a six-year term, he lost re-election in a runoff in January 2021, handing Democrats a key seat.
When Trump endorsed him to run for governor, many thought the die was cast. He bankrolled Perdue with $2.6 million, his highest bet of any primary, and in a state where so many Republicans buy into the vote-stealing hoax, Trump’s endorsement might have seemed infallible. From the beginning, it was interpreted as an attempt of revenge by the former president against Kemp, whom he shot viciously, calling him a “coward” and saying that he is “a total and complete disaster” He has not stopped his attacks until last week.
But Perdue has not turned out to be a very enthusiastic candidate. Furthermore, despite Trump’s financial support, he has not had many more financial sources and has raised far fewer funds than Kemp. Trump himself has seen that things did not look good and he has avoided holding joint events in the last two months.
The governor has the money and he has the job. Since his post, Kemp has tried to mix his government measures with the campaign. Last week, he announced a 5.5 billion investment from Hyundai that would create nearly 8,000 jobs. Besides, Kemp has management to sell. And despite the fact that Trump has tried to put the label of RINO (republican in name only, lip service Republican), that administration is actually quite right-wing.
During his tenure as governor, Kemp was among the first to end confinement and masks. He opened bars, restaurants, schools and shops as soon as he could. He has lowered taxes, including a well-timed gas cut. He has promoted a law against abortion, has approved a regulation that allows people to go down the street with concealed weapons without special authorization, has toughened the requirements for voting and has limited what teachers can teach on topics such as racism, for example. . He has forgotten about Trump and has campaigned against the current president, Democrat Joe Biden. The program that he has applied follows the republican ideology.
One of the things that is happening in the Republican primaries is that Trumpism prevails as an ideological discourse, but Trump’s candidates are not always the favorites within the party. Doctor Oz is not well liked in the party and has had a disappointing result in Pennsylvania, despite the fact that he is still fighting vote by vote for victory in the primary for the Senate. Madison Cawthorn has been left out in her North Carolina district. Her gubernatorial candidates in Ohio, Idaho and Nebraska have also lost primaries. It is true that there is a majority of Trump candidates who have won, but also that sometimes the former president has jumped on the winning horse at the last minute, as with Doug Mastriano in the primaries for Governor of Pennsylvania. In general, as was seen even on the night that JD Vance won in Ohio, Trump’s support is not infallible.
For the former president, Georgia’s may be the most bitter defeat since the one he himself suffered in 2020. His former vice president, Mike Pence, has also entered the scene with strong support for Kemp. Republican governors from other states have also preferred to support whoever is already in office rather than Trump’s candidate. In fact, a clear victory for Kemp may have a certain therapeutic effect on some of the Republican leaders, who believe that the time has come to turn the page on the lost elections of 2020 (including in Georgia) and focus on the debates that concern the citizens, from inflation to crime, through the pandemic, taxes or abortion.
It is more difficult for Raffensperger. Georgia’s secretary of state is not well known to voters, for better or for worse. But it is very difficult for him to get more than 50% of the votes this Tuesday, which is what is needed in Georgia so that there is no second round. If he has to choose between only two candidates again, it will be difficult for him to prevail over Trump’s candidate. In any case, that piece looks like small game for the former president, who has become obsessed with the fact that the governor had the possibility of changing the result in 2020.
In the Senate race, there is no doubt that former football player Herschel Walker is the favorite, despite his dark past. His wife divorced him alleging his violent and threatening behavior. And then she reported that he threatened to kill her when she started dating someone else. He has the full support of Trump.
Early turnout has nearly tripled in the Georgia primary. There are also primaries this Tuesday in Arkansas, Minnesota and Alabama and second rounds in the Texas primaries that have not yet been decided, including the one that faces Ken Paxton (supported by Trump) with George P. Bush to be state attorney general. , the new generation of the saga.
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