The 2022 Republican Party primary for governor has already been somewhat nasty.
Folks, we haven’t seen anything yet.
Even as Governor Brian Kemp filed an ethics complaint against challenger David Perdue (a rather frivolous one in this writer’s opinion), this battle is about to reach the white-hot mark on the thermometer.
It has been interesting to listen to the reaction of some Republican insiders as well as the everyday GOP voter since this matchup became official. Some flat out don’t like the fact that an incumbent Republican is having to face primary opposition.
It’s not uncommon for incumbents in both of the two major political parties to receiver primary challenges. Often, they are not serious opposition but the Perdue candidacy is as legit of a threat to Kemp as it can be.
There are a large number of Georgia Republicans who still point at least one finger of blame at Kemp for allowing Joe Biden to carry the state’s electoral votes last November in the presidential election.
And there is a much smaller number of Republican voters who welcome the competition in the primary. Make no mistake, however, this is a small percentage of the GOP base in the Peach State. Most fear a brutal primary fight will benefit presumptive Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams in November.
It’s odd how so many Republicans don’t like contested primaries when there is an incumbent. In theory, aren’t Republicans supposed to be for competition? They want it when it comes to schools. They want it when it comes to business. Yet, they seem against it at the ballot box.
When Kelly Loeffler faced voters for the first-time last November, many state GOP insiders were upset that Doug Collins ran against her. It was a unique situation where candidates from all parties were on the ballot at the same time in “jungle primary.”
Actually, several Republicans in addition to Collins ran in race.
Even if Perdue did not enter the governor’s race this year, Kemp already had primary opposition. Former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones, a major supporter of former President Trump, has been traveling the state in an attempt to unseat incumbent governor.
One recent poll showed Jones with 10% support in the primary.
Kandiss Taylor, a South Georgia educator, is also in the Republican primary for governor. Taylor ran in the US Senate race against Loeffler last year and her campaign is the ultimate definition of a grassroots one as she travels to all corners of the state speaking to any group of voters, no matter how small
Political newcomer Jonathan Garcia has also declared his candidacy and there still may be others. Former Washington mayor Ames Barnett has been reportedly mulling whether to toss his hat into the ring.
Choice is a good thing and that includes when we go to vote. Only countries that are run by a dictator have no choice. If you are a Republican voter and feel Kemp deserves a second term then by all means vote for him.
If you don’t like the job Kemp has done, for whatever reason, then you have a choice. If Kemp does win the nomination of his party and then loses in the fall then it is not Perdue’s fault or anyone else’s. It would be Kemp’s.
Shifting blame is also something Republicans say they are against. Yet we are already hearing that excuse being floating around.
Politics in the year 2022 has truly become fascinating and confusing. Georgia will be the eye of the political storm this year. If nothing else it gives political pundits plenty to talk about.
Chris Bridges is a correspondent for The Covington News.