Victories Stack Up in Georgia for GOP Candidates Who Blocked Trump's Efforts to Overturn 2020 Election

Trump-backed candidates win some, lose some to incumbents not favored by the former president in Georgia’s big Republican primaries

Brian Kemp; Brad Raffensperger; Chris Carr
Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg via Getty Images; John Amis/AP/Shutterstock

It was a busy night of Republican primaries in Georgia, where showdowns between Donald Trump-backed candidates and those the former president fervently opposed saw mixed results.

But in three high-profile races, contenders who refused to help Trump overturn Georgia's election results in 2020 easily won.

Gov. Brian Kemp was considered a top target of Trump, who recruited former Sen. David Purdue to challenge the incumbent. Even with Trump's endorsement of his opponent, Kemp cruised to victory, winning every county and the state as a whole by a wide margin, with 73 percent of the vote. Perdue earned just 22 percent, with 82 percent of the votes counted, the Associated Press reports.

Perdue made the false claim of a "rigged and stolen" 2020 election a theme in his campaign, parroting Trump's relentless mantra about his loss to Biden, who beat the former president in Georgia by 11,779-votes.

"Even in the middle of a tough primary, conservatives across our state didn't listen to the noise. They didn't get distracted," Kemp told supporters after his win on Tuesday.

He will face Democrat Stacey Abrams in November. Trump addressed his prospects during a tele-rally for Perdue on Monday night. "I don't believe Kemp can do it," Mr. Trump said of Kemp's chances for defeating Abrams. "He's got too many people in the Republican Party that will refuse to vote. They're just not going to go out."

Former Trump allies Chris Christie, Mike Pence and others, who split from the MAGA movement leader over his 2020 falsehoods, supported Kemp in his quest for reelection.

"Enormous win tonight for @BrianKempGA," Christie tweeted Tuesday. "I am so proud of and happy for my friend — and just as importantly for the Georgia GOP and the people of Georgia. They were not going to kick out a great Governor or be willing participants in the DJT Vendetta Tour."

Kemp Trump
Brian Kemp, Donald Trump. Getty Images (2)

Trump reportedly spent millions from his own political committee to help Perdue and appeared at rallies for him before the primary.

Georgia's Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, whose phone call with Trump in Jan. 2021 showed the lengths the president was willing to go for reelection, won 52 percent of the vote, enough to avoid a runoff with his closest competitor, Rep. Jody Hice.

"The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry," Trump told Raffensperger on the phone Jan. 2, 2021. "And there's nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you've recalculated."

"Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong," Raffensperger replied.

"So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state," Trump also said during the call.

On the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, before violence broke out at the U.S. Capitol, outspoken election denier Hice posted a message on Instagram, saying, "This is our 1776 moment." He later deleted it but was one of the 147 Republican lawmakers who voted to overturn the 2020 election results on the same day of the attack on the Capitol.

"Unlike the current Georgia Secretary of State, Jody leads out front with integrity. I have 100% confidence in Jody to fight for Free, Fair, and Secure Elections in Georgia, in line with our beloved U.S. Constitution," Trump said in his endorsement of Hice. "Jody will stop the Fraud and get honesty into our Elections! Jody loves the people of Georgia."

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr also coasted to victory on Tuesday in the Republican primary with nearly 74 percent of the vote. His closest challenger, businessman and attorney John Gordon, earned a little more than 26 percent.

Carr backed Kemp and Raffensperger's decision to certify the results of the 2020 election after investigations found there was no evidence of fraud. Trump-endorsed Gordon, meanwhile, has remained adamant that the former president was the legitimate winner in 2020.

"There's no question in my mind that he won Georgia," he told HuffPost in an interview Sunday. "This was a coup d'etat, and people need to wake up."

Donald Trump and Herschel Walker

In other Georgia races, Trump favorites won.

Former football star Herschel Walker will face off against Democratic Senator and Pastor Raphael G. Warnock in the general election in November after he defeated Gary Black and others.

In September, Walker secured an endorsement from Trump, who called him "friend, a Patriot, and an outstanding American who is going to be a GREAT United States Senator."

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, whose candidacy was contested because of her alleged support for the Jan. 6 insurrection, won the Republican primary in her Georgia district, putting her on the path to be reelected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Greene became the first Republican member of Congress to publicly testify under oath about the Capitol riot of 2021 but voters' claims that she should be disqualified from running for office were dismissed by an administrative judge and by Georgia's secretary of state.

Greene, one of Trump's most loyal allies in Congress, has made courting controversy part of her political brand since before being elected in 2020.

The former president backed Greene for reelection with an endorsement in April. "She doesn't back down, she doesn't give up, and she has ALWAYS been with 'Trump,' " he said in a statement. "She loves our Country and MAGA, its greatest ever political movement. Marjorie is running for re-election to Congress, and has my Complete and Total Endorsement!"

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