As intriguing as the 2020 election was (and still is), things have the potential to be just as entertaining in our state for 2022.
The reason is simple: a Civil War has erupted among Republicans in Georgia and the rift could end up being as nasty anything we have witnessed for decades.
As anyone who follows politics knows, President Trump is still battling to have the outcome of the 2020 election overturned. His team of supporters, both legal and otherwise, have thrown up every Hail Mary possible but to date none have reached the endzone.
The latest news in this saga comes as Texas has declared war on Georgia and other states in which Joe Biden defeated President Trump. Not satisfied with the results of numerous recounts in Georgia (and other states), President Trump has openly criticized some state leaders in the GOP including Gov. Brian Kemp.
The president has now said he regrets endorsing Kemp in the 2018 election and is encouraging Congressman Doug Collins to run against the governor in the 2022 primary.
Collins, as you may recall, was the person President Trump wanted Kemp to appoint to the vacant US Senate seat when Johnny Isakson retired. The governor instead went with Kelly Loeffler.
In addition, President Trump and an increasing number of Georgians are furious with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. It seems the Secretary of State, along with Governor Kemp, refuses to overturn the outcome of the presidential vote in the general election for Georgia.
The reason is actually simple: neither has the legal authority to do so.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, also a Republican, has fired back in the war of words with the Republican attorney general in Texas (who has numerous legal battles personally he should be concentrating on) saying that his lawsuit is “constitutionally, legally and factually wrong.”
That potential case was rejected by the US Supreme Court late last week.
The 2022 governor’s race was already expected to be closely contested with Stacey Abrams all but certain to run again. Abrams nearly won in 2018 and a GOP primary battle, as ugly as this one could get, would only benefit her campaign.
In recent years, primary challengers against a GOP incumbent have not done well. In the 2014 primary John Barge challenged incumbent Nathan Deal in the governor’s race. Barge, despite being elected statewide as school superintendent, managed just 11% of the vote against Deal. A third candidate in that primary actually polled more than Barge despite never holding statewide office.
Barge then attempted to regain his seat as state school superintendent in 2018 but lost to incumbent Richard Woods 60-40%. Even when trying to get his old position back, Barge found it was much easier to be the office holder rather than the challenger.
Kemp will likely not be the only GOP incumbent to face primary challenges in 2022. Raffensperger is almost sure to have a pro-Trump opponent. One potential candidate, who ran in this year’s U.S. Senate jungle primary, told me recently she is considering a run against the current Secretary of State.
With Carr’s comments about the lawsuit from the Lone Star State, look for Georgia’s attorney general to also face primary election opposition.
Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan has also been a vocal critic of those criticizing Georgia and its election integrity. That certainly opens the door for someone to challenge him as well.
Trump very well may run again in 2024. If so, he will probably campaign for the next four years. If he does run it’s doubtful any high-profile Republicans will challenge him.
When we get to 2022 look for Trump to ramp up his support for candidates running against Kemp, Duncan, Carr and Raffensperger. The state Republican Party typically does not have anyone challenging incumbents and often ignores anyone who dares to do so.
However, Trump would make it a completely different ballgame. It will likely get as nasty as anything we have seen in our state and that is saying something. Get ready. As crazy as the 2020 election, Georgia just may be set to top it in 2022.
Chris Bridges is a former sports editor for The Covington News. Reach him at email@example.com.