March 27 – In a test of his ongoing influence in the Republican Party, former President Donald Trump returned to Georgia on Saturday to oust his supporters in support of his ongoing allegations that the 2020 elections were being stolen from him – from Georgia.
At a meeting in Commerce, a small town in northeastern Atlanta, Trump spent the first 20 minutes of his speech repeatedly blaming the outcome, calling Governor Brian Kemp, also a Republican, a “turncoat” and a “coward” for failing to rectify the situation results.
Trump has invested heavily in politics in the province, authorizing a large number of candidates across the country in an effort to oust Kemp and his allies. The May 24 general election will provide perhaps the most accurate test yet of Trump’s ability to play king in the 2022 election.
It will also provide an early estimate of how Republican candidates are trying to balance between Trump’s zeal for the 2020 election and the popularity of Republican national leaders to focus on President Joe Biden’s record instead.
“This is a very difficult test for him – and it is important,” said Alan Abramowitz, a professor of political science at Emory University in Atlanta. “Trump is still very popular with Republican voters, but that doesn’t mean they will vote in elementary school on his approval.”
Voting showed Kemp holding the reins of power by Trump’s nominee, former U.S. Senator David Perdue, despite Trump’s constant criticism of the incumbent.
In addition to Perdue, Trump has authorized US ambassador Jody Hice, who is challenging Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Raffensperger has rejected Trump’s request to change the result and announced that the 2020 election is fair and just after a series of audits and reviews.
Trump also authorized voters to vote under the attorney general, Lieutenant Governor and insurance commissioner, in each case accompanying nominees he accuses of not fighting hard to substantiate his allegations of fraud.
Biden won Georgia by less than a quarter of a percent, becoming the first Democrat to win a state in almost 30 years.
“The first thing we notice is that his authority does not seem to be present to give the same type of automatic to those we have seen in the past,” said Amy Steigerwalt, a professor of political science at Georgia State University.
Perdue’s spokesman said his support would grow as more voters recognize Trump’s approval. A spokesman for Trump did not respond to a request for comment.
TRUMP STILL PUSHES THE ELECTION FALSE
Republicans are worried that a split could open the door for Stacey Abrams, a voting rights activist, to win Kemp in 2018, to win the November re-election.
Some Republicans already believe that Trump’s speech following the November 2020 election helped to lose the party in a double Senate election in Georgia in January 2021, giving Democrats control of the chamber.
Kemp campaign spokesman Tate Mitchell said, “Governor Kemp is focused on securing the approval of the Georgia Republicans on May 24 and ensuring that Stacey Abrams never becomes our governor.”
Trump is still at the forefront of the party, and Republican candidates across the country continue to seek his support. But he has made it clear that he expects his allies to commit to his false claim that Biden’s victory in 2020 was illegal, a claim that has been repeatedly denied by the courts, polls and election officials.
Earlier this week, Trump withdrew his candidacy for US representative Mo Brooks at the Senate race in Alabama after Brooks told voters it was time to move on to the 2020 elections.
Perdue, who lost his Senate seat in 2020, echoed Trump’s remarks at a rally on Saturday, telling the crowd that both of their elections had been “stolen” and vowed that those involved would “go to jail.”
Some Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have called on the party to put 2020 behind it and focus on Biden’s performance. Historically, the White House ruling party lost seats in Congress during the first mid-term presidential election.
Georgia-based Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, a Republican candidate not running for re-election, has formed a party, GOP 2.0, which aims to oust Trump.
The group released an ad this week attacking Trump and Perdue for preferring to talk about “conspiracy theories and past losses” rather than offer a vision for the future.