ATLANTA — In a major blow to Donald Trump’s reputation as the Republican kingmaker, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp trounced former Sen. David Perdue in the GOP primary for governor. The double-digit blowout came despite the fact that Trump had endorsed Perdue and cleared the field of other challengers, while making Kemp his single biggest target for defeat during the primary season.... (abridged....)
Georgia has been the object of Trump’s obsession since losing the state in the 2020 presidential race and waging a conspiracy-laden and ultimately unsuccessful pressure campaign to overturn the results. Backing Perdue was the primary focus of his revenge campaign, a strategy that has now been soundly repudiated by Georgia voters.
In the other closely watched race in Georgia, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, another prized scalp for Trump, is leading in his primary race against Rep. Jody Hice. Trump had endorsed Hice and castigated Raffensperger as an “enemy of the people” for resisting his pressure in a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s win in Georgia.
With the large majority of the votes having been counted, Raffensperger has over 51% of the vote. That margin, if it holds, would deliver what is arguably the most stinging defeat of all for the former president. If Raffensperger finishes with more than 50% of the vote, he will be the winner. If neither candidate breaks 50%, the two will face off in a June runoff.
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Phillip M. Bailey, USA TODAY
The headline of the night goes to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who was likely Trump's biggest target of the primary season thus far.
Kemp fended off a challenge by former Sen. David Perdue, crushing the Trump-backed candidate by a roughly 3-1 margin.
The win is likely to be cast as a major rebuke of the former president, who had made Kemp one of his top campaign targets because the governor refused to help him reverse the 2020 election results... (abridged...)
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