Brian Kemp Cast His Lot With Trump, and Has Now Paid the Price

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On the same day that Mr. Ducey was selected to head the Republican Governors Association, Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona said Mr. Ducey had “harmed the common cause of the Republican party,” in a column on a conservative news site.

“The Duceys and the Kemps of the world, they may have some difficulty if they want to seek elective office within the Republican Party,” said Michael Burke, the chairman of the Republican Party in Pinal County in Arizona. “People will remember what happened here,” added Mr. Burke, who worked at Mr. Trump’s properties before becoming involved with politics.

Allies of the president have begun issuing veiled threats toward Mr. Kemp, warning that what they see as his insufficient loyalty to the president could carry a political price.

“If you’re not fighting for Trump now when he needs you the most as a Republican leader in Georgia, people are not going to fight for you when you ask them to get re-elected,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, in an appearance on Fox News.

Democrats are trying to exploit these divisions. MeidasTouch, a progressive national political committee, announced plans this week to put up billboards in Georgia emblazoned with a Trump tweet that reads, “Why bother voting for Republicans if what you get is Ducey and Kemp?” Mr. Biden plans to travel to the state next week to campaign for the two Democratic candidates, who would give his party control of the Senate if they won runoffs against Republican incumbents on Jan. 5.

Mr. Kemp’s descent from Mr. Trump’s circle of approval is particularly striking. Throughout his career, he has taken pains to demonstrate his conservative credentials: In one particularly unsubtle ad that ran during his 2018 run for governor, titled “So Conservative,” he demonstrated his desire to “blow up government spending” with actual explosives, and “cut regulations” with a real chain saw.

It was Mr. Trump’s positive tweet just days before the Republican primary runoff that helped Mr. Kemp gain the nomination. Then in the general election, Mr. Kemp became one of the Trump era’s most enduring villains in the eyes of the left after his narrow victory over Stacey Abrams, who was vying to become the nation’s first Black woman governor.





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