Donald Trump’s political vendetta hit a wall in Georgia on Tuesday when Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger easily defeated Trump-backed challengers. The question now is whether the former president will pursue his revenge by attempting to defeat both men in November.
Mr Kemp has beaten former Senator David Perdue 74% to 22%, according to the latest figures. Mr. Raffensperger beat Rep. Jody Hice, 52% to 33%, a clear majority win that does not require a runoff. This remarkable result suggests that most GOP voters are focused on winning the next election rather than renegotiating the last one. Mr. Trump harms himself by focusing on his personal resentments rather than the interests of the Republican Party.
Mr. Kemp campaigned wisely and refrained from hitting back at Mr. Trump. “He’s mad at me,” the governor said this week. “I’m not mad at him.” Mr Kemp has a solid Conservative record and was among the first governors to lift the state’s Covid lockdowns. While Mr. Perdue complained about voting by mail in 2020, Mr. Kemp signed and defended Georgia’s new election law.
President Biden’s hysteria over the bill likely helped Mr. Kemp bolster his conservative credibility. Ditto for Mr. Raffensperger, who wrote an op-ed on these pages comparing Mr. Trump’s bad loser tempers to those of Democrat Stacey Abrams, who refused to concede Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial election. Days before the January 6 riot, Mr Trump harassed Mr Raffensperger on a phone call to “find 11,780 votes”. Audio of this was leaked to the press.
But nothing unites the right more than opposition to the left, and Mr. Raffensperger defended Georgia’s electoral law. After New York City requested non-citizen voting rights in local elections, he called for the US Constitution to be amended to allow only citizens to vote. Fighting for election integrity is not the same as pretending to see Mr. Trump’s 2020 phantasms. Messrs. Raffensperger and Kemp were confirmed in their right to vote because the turnout in the primary elections was robust.
Georgia Republicans may have learned from tough experiences in the 2021 Senate runoff. Mr. Trump raged about cheating without evidence, and GOP turnout plummeted. The party lost two Senate seats, including Mr Perdues. Democrats took full control of Washington, unleashing progressive policies and 8% inflation.
Will Vulcan Mr. Trump now climb Mount Vesuvius and attempt to bury Messrs. Kemp and Raffensperger in November? The political differences between Messrs. Kemp and Perdue are minor. They should be able to unite against far-left Ms Abrams, who is running again after building a national media profile. The Democrats will pour tens of millions of dollars into the race.
But Mr Trump is so vindictive of Mr Kemp that he occasionally suggests he would prefer a Governor Abrams. “Stacey, would you like to take his place?” Mr Trump said at a rally last fall. “It’s fine with me.” This week, on his Twitter impersonation Truth Social, Mr. Trump called Mr. Kemp “the worst electoral integrity governor in the country” who “can’t win the general election.”
This comes from the man who led the Republican Party up until 18 months ago and may want to return to the White House. His focus on personal grievances is a reminder of how Trump’s often-chaotic governance cost Republicans the House of Representatives in 2018, the White House in 2020, and the Senate in 2021.
Mr Kemp beat Ms Abrams by just 55,000 votes last time out, small enough that a continued Trump vendetta could make all the difference by reducing GOP turnout. But how can Mr. Trump credibly say that the top Republican didn’t win after Mr. Kemp walked away with 74% of the vote? Mr Trump would be wiser to forgive and focus on the future. If he doesn’t, Republicans can draw the appropriate conclusions when considering their 2024 nominee.
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https://www.wsj.com/articles/will-donald-trump-elect-stacey-abrams-georgia-brian-kemp-david-perdue-brad-raffensperger-jody-hice-11653502066 Will Trump Help to Elect Stacey Abrams?