Mike Pence Throws Support Behind Trump Political Enemy

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Former Vice President Mike Pence will be campaigning in-person for Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp on May 23, the day before Election Day in the currently unfolding Republican primary in which Kemp is facing former Georgia Senator David Perdue — who has former President Donald Trump’s support. That means the Republican primary for the Georgia governorship now constitutes a rare instance where Pence is breaking with Trump.

“Brian Kemp is one of the most successful conservative governors in America,” Pence claimed, adding: “He built a safer and stronger Georgia by cutting taxes, empowering parents and investing in teachers, funding law enforcement, and standing strong for the right to life… I am proud to offer my full support for four more years of Brian Kemp as governor of the great state of Georgia!” Trump has gone after Kemp over the governor’s refusal to go along with the then-president’s ambitions to undercut Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election successes, including his surprise win in the state of Georgia. Polls suggest it’s Pence’s side that’s going to be victorious: a survey from earlier this month found Perdue losing to Kemp by more than 37 percent. If Kemp finishes above 50 percent, the race is over — if he doesn’t, the top two finishers (presumably meaning him and Perdue) will face off in a subsequent run-off election featuring just the two of them.

As previously reported here, then-President Trump got on the phone with Kemp in December 2020, pushing the Georgia leader to call a special legislative session for the purpose of having legislators appoint electoral college members for Georgia who backed Trump, although Biden won Georgia. The Washington Post characterized Trump’s push to Kemp as including a hope that the governor would have a role in essentially cajoling state legislators into action. Infamously, of course, Trump also spoke over the phone with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), who the then-president implored to “find” enough votes to flip Georgia. Doing so would have required fraudulently meddling with the process since there was never any real-world evidence of reams of missing Trump votes. Now, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is conducting a criminal investigation into the Trump-led effort targeting Georgia’s presidential election outcome. She has secured the cooperation of individuals who participated in a scheme to assemble essentially faked electoral votes from Georgia for Trump.

For Trump-backed candidates to win in key races like the Georgia gubernatorial contest could be disastrous. Perdue, for instance, is a promoter of lies about the integrity of the last presidential election — and if he or someone similarly minded ends up in power ahead of the 2024 presidential race, then what if the election results aren’t to their liking and they subsequently refuse to go along with certifying the outcome, no matter its presumably documented legitimacy? Trump is also backing Kari Lake in the ongoing Republican primary race for the Arizona governorship — and she’s so conspiratorially inclined that she recently helped bring a lawsuit pushing to put a hold on machine tabulation of votes in Arizona.