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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp won the state’s Republican primary for governor on Tuesday, beating back former President Donald Trump’s hand-picked challenger in a contest that demonstrated the limits of the former president in a key swing state.
Kemp, who earned more than 70 percent of the vote, will face Democrat Stacey Abrams this fall in what will be one of the nation’s most closely watched governor’s races.
Despite the stinging setback in the night’s top contest, Trump’s preferred Senate candidate, former NFL star Herschel Walker, easily prevailed in his primary, while a Trump-backed candidate to serve as Georgia’s chief election officer was still in the running. And in Republican primaries in Alabama and Arkansas, dozens of conservatives were likely to win their primaries after embracing Trump’s side about his 2020 election loss.
But Trump’s chief focus this primary season was the race for Georgia governor.
The former president personally recruited former Sen. David Perdue to challenge Kemp, rejected the former president’s claims of widespread voter fraud. Kemp emerged as a powerful fundraiser with a list of conservative accomplishments to blunt Trump’s opposition. In the final days of the campaign, he unveiled plans for a $5.5 billion, 8,100-job Hyundai Motor plant near Savannah.
Perdue’s allies braced for a lopsided defeat, the only question being whether Kemp would win the 50% majority he needed to avoid a runoff election next month.
Herschel Walker Wins Senate Bid in Landslide
Georgia GOP Senate primary candidate Herschel Walker is the projected winner Tuesday night, setting up a November midterm showdown with Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.
Decision Desk HQ called Walker the winner of his primary at 7:38 p.m. ET after the polls closed at the top of the hour. The winner needed to pull more than 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff.
Walker had the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, who originally urged him to run for office years ago.
MTG Wins GOP Nomination
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is the projected winner in the GOP Georgia primary and will defend her U.S. House seat for District 14 in November, Decision Desk HQ projects.
It was her first vote to test how her conservative Georgia constituents judge her turbulent freshman term.
Greene, 47, became a celebrity of the Republican Party’s far-right with her election two years ago as she joined former President Donald Trump’s that the 2020 election was stolen.
Greene remained on the primary ballot Tuesday in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District after a failed effort to disqualify her by opposing voters. They argued Greene engaged in insurrection by encouraging the Jan. 6, 2021, riot that disrupted Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Georgia’s secretary of state and an administrative law judge dismissed the claims.
Trump-Backed AG Candidate Defeated
Georgia’s Republican attorney general has defeated a GOP primary challenger who entered the race with the backing of former President Donald Trump.
Unofficial election returns show Attorney General Chris Carr winning the Republican nomination over John Gordon, who largely campaigned on Trump’s allegations of widespread election fraud.
Gordon said he wanted an investigation into the 2020 election and blamed Carr for not doing enough. Carr said flatly Trump and Georgia’s two Republican senators lost that election and there was no need to investigate.