With 100 days left, there’s no ‘tag team’ atop Georgia tickets
August 1, 2022
Also in today’s edition of Swing State Georgia:
No decision on Georgia’s spot in the 2024 primaries.
The Senate debate saga continues.
Georgia native decides to stick with Biden.
Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday scheduled a major address in McDonough to blame state and national Democrats for the uncertain economy. Around the same time, Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker held court 55 miles to the north with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
The dueling Republican events underscored a dynamic playing out in both of Georgia’s top races with 100 days until the election: The Democratic and GOP candidates for governor and U.S. Senate aren’t running as a package deal – and sometimes they’re not on the same page on key issues, either.
Let’s start with the GOP side. Walker never cozied up to Kemp during the primary, lamenting he was “mad” at both the governor and former U.S. Sen. David Perdue for the nasty internal feud. He later wouldn’t say whether he even voted for Kemp.
While Walker often says he wants a “unity rally,” the two have yet to campaign together publicly. And both have different stances on abortion restrictions, immigration policy, the falsehoods surrounding the 2020 election and – perhaps most importantly – Donald Trump.
Ahead of Stacey Abrams in the polls, there’s good reason for Kemp to continue running his own state-centric campaign. But Walker wouldn’t mind the support from a governor whose approval ratings in the latest AJC poll is about 54% - and who is outpolling him among Republicans.
“There’s no doubt I’m going to support the governor. We’ll be a tag team,” Walker said at a recent campaign stop in Alto. “I’ll be a tag team with anyone else who is running on the Republican ticket.”
As for the Democratic side of the ledger, Abrams and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock are personally very close – and Abrams helped clear the way for Warnock in early 2020 when he launched his bid for the late U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s seat.
But the two haven’t publicly campaigned together this cycle either, preferring to focus on their own races. And strategic differences have emerged on the trail over whether to support limits on abortion and how to approach President Joe Biden.
Our Insider Greg Bluestein looks today at Abrams and Biden, as Abrams continues to embrace her alliance with the President and the Biden agenda.
As she wound down her campaign speech to hundreds of supporters piled into a community center’s gym, Stacey Abrams asked the North Georgia crowd to look back to 2020 to remember the energy and enthusiasm that helped Democrats score upset wins.
“Georgia is the reason we’ve got Joe Biden,” she said to a burst of applause. “The reason that we’ve got billions of dollars in our coffers, money that’s being spent to help keep us afloat.”
This all brings back memories of the last time a governor’s race and U.S. Senate seat were up for grabs in Georgia in the same cycle. In 2014, all four candidates for the two offices rarely campaigned together – and each held separate bus tours in the closing weeks of the race.
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RUNNING MATES? Speaking of tag teams, Stacey Abrams and Charlie Bailey, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, have campaigned together at a string of recent events. But we haven’t seen Gov. Brian Kemp and GOP nominee Burt Jones stump with each other.
Bailey brought that up at a Friday campaign stop in Dalton, noting that Jones wasn’t among the slate of GOP statewide candidates who stood beside Kemp as he gave his economic address. He also alluded to Jones’ role as a fake GOP elector in 2020.
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