Kemp’s position with regular members has improved tremendously, according to interviews with more than 30 party officials, strategists and activists here. And in its partial rehabilitation – the product of a relentless focus on so-called election integrity issues and cultural foundations to excite the base – Kemp can serve as a model for dozens of Republicans elsewhere who have sparked public anger and sought to regain their position with the Republicans at home.
Kemp’s fate is particularly marked in Georgia, a volatile country where Trump was not only defeated by Joe Biden, but saw Republicans lose both seats in the U.S. Senate in the state runoff in January. Fearing that Trump̵
“I think he wins [next year’s GOP primary] with 65, 70 percent of the vote, “said Robert Lee, a Georgia-based Republican strategist, in a packed hall shortly after Kemp spoke on Saturday afternoon.
This assessment – widespread here – is one that Republicans blistering from Trump elsewhere can learn from. Earlier this year, Kemp’s election had fallen, GOP activists in several counties made a remark to himand it was unclear whether the governor, seeking his second term next year, could even survive a major challenge.
On Saturday, Kemp was greeted by a round of applause to compete with the boo. He then stayed in the congress halls for several hours, shaking hands and posing for photos.
Clint Day, a former state senator who only months ago was far more pessimistic about Kemp’s prospects, said: “I think he can be re-elected.”
The closest reason for Kemp’s improved situation is controversial voting law Kemp is being defended, which, among other restrictions, makes it difficult for absentees to vote. His signing in March not only reaffirmed his conservative access to votes, but identified him as a central figure in the CSO’s war on the Democrats and corporate America.
Joel Allen, a party official in Atlanta’s 6th Convention District, said that “Kemp has really done himself a favor by SB 202, ”Regarding the voting bill.
And while Republicans were disappointed with Kemp, they won a total foil in Major League baseball, which announced it would move its All-Star Game from Atlanta in protest of the law. The convictions of two Georgia-based companies, Coca-Cola and Delta, have given Kemp another platform to step back against alleged corporate and leftist excesses.
Kemp has also been directly involved in the GOP’s wider cultural wars. In his fundraising calls in recent weeks, he has addressed leading issues with wedges, saying that the critical theory of race “has NO PLACE in our classrooms in Georgia” while mocking the theft of “culture abolition” and “Defining police “, nonsense that lingers in the liberal strongholds of Democrats in Washington”
Meanwhile, the governor has significantly relaxed coronavirus restrictions in the country while issuing executive order at the end of last month a ban on government agencies requiring passports for Covid-19 vaccines.
Until April, Kemp’s rating of approval among Republicans in Georgia was rose by 15 percentage points from its lowest level since the election, according to Morning Consult, reaching 74%. The campaign’s internal survey also showed an improvement over earlier this year.
“I’m in much better shape than what the media wants to tell people I am,” Kemp said Saturday, declining to comment.
At a rally on Westin Jekyll Island on Friday night, Vernon Jones, a former Republican supporting Democrat backed by Trump, who is so far Kemp’s most prominent opponent, called Kemp “RINO,” and Jones supporters were among Kemm’s most vocal whistles. the next day. Debbie Dooley, founder of the Jones-backed Atlanta Tea Party, called him “Donald Trump of Georgia,” and a vocal contingent of Jones supporters gathered around him in congress halls.
But Jones’ own story as a Democrat, in addition to a rich opposition dossier on him, upsets many Republicans in the state.
“If his opponent is Vernon Jones, I think Brian Kemp will be the nominee,” said Jay Williams, a Georgia-based Republican strategist. “He’s a former Democrat, man … Vernon Jones is the crazy uncle we’ve known for a long time.”
The problem with the GOP, said Donna Rowe, a Cobb County party official in the Atlanta suburbs, is that “we eat our main.”
“We will still win it, but it will be a bloodbath,” she said.
Kemp is not yet “out of the woods” with the foundation, Alan said. This was evident from the cacophony of boos he received during his remarks at the congress, a meeting that usually attracts the most ardent activists in the country. The convention, one of the most visited in the state’s history, was attended for the first time by delegates who joined the convention, mostly because they believed the lie that the election had been stolen by Trump.
Yet, even in this far-right audience, Kemp performed better than some other elected officials in Georgia, who refuted Trump’s baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud. One of them, Lieutenant Jeff Duncan, who was not present at the congress with Rafensperger, recently announced that he would not seek re-election. Another, Attorney General Chris Carr, was almost drowned out by noise when he addressed the crowd on Friday.
However, Rafensperger saw the worst of it – he not only rejected Trump’s claims that the election was stolen, but was closer in his office to counting the ballots than Kemp. One of Rafensperger’s main opponents, David Bell Isle, the former mayor of Alpharetta, which Rafensperger won in a run-off for the 2018 nomination, is distributing congressional literature depicting Rafensperger with devil horns on his head. Representative Jodie Heath, who defended Trump’s efforts to cancel the election and run with his approval, distributed pins in the shape of a shoe labeled “Boot Brad.”
The state party adopted a resolution condemning Rafensperger on Saturday by a large majority.
Bruce Thompson, a senator from Georgia who called for further reviews of the November election, said Rafensperger was “done.” But he said calculations around Kemp had changed.
Although “the base is still angry,” he said, Kemp “handled it as best he could, as far as the pandemic and our opening as governor … Brian did a good job after the election with the economy and signed SB 202. And he traveled.” by country. “
This is a formula that is not lost on Republicans who have angered Trump in other states. In Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey, similarly insulted by Trump condemned by the Republicans in his state the Conservatives cheered when he did issued an executive order in April, banning the use of certain ‘vaccine passports’.
Just like Ducy, Trump mocked Kemp as a “RINO” in the midst of their post-election feud when the former president promised to campaign against Kemp in 2022. As early as April, Trump claimed that Kemp “immersed in the radical left-awakened crowd.“He said he was.”embarrassedHe approved Kemp in 2018.
But the governor’s rebound could limit Trump’s ability in the state. Former Trump ally Doug Collins, said in April that he will not run for governor after Trump it emerges as a potential contender.
“If Brian Kemp continues to do what he’s doing, namely election law issues, go through another session with Dems, saying he’s a terrible man,” Williams said. “I think he’s probably a really big one. a problem far from guaranteeing his nomination. ”