'DJT Vendetta Tour'
Brad Raffensperger wins GOP primary for Georgia secretary of state, in another rebuke to Trump
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) fended off a primary challenge from Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) on Tuesday, unexpectedly drawing enough votes to avoid a runoff election. Former President Donald Trump had recruited Hice from a safe Republican seat to challenge Raffensperger, who drew Trump's ire after the 2020 election for refusing to support his false claim that the election was stolen. In one recorded phone call, Trump urged Raffensperger to "find" just enough votes to let him overtake President Biden in the state.
Raffensperger credited his "come-from-behind" victory on voters rewarding him for "standing for the truth and not buckling under pressure." Altogether, The Associated Press reports, "Trump failed to replace all four Republican incumbents he targeted in the state, including the governor, attorney general, and secretary of state."
Gov. Brian Kemp (R) scored an easy victory over former Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), the Trump-recruited challenger who made Trump's "Big Lie" about a stolen election the centerpiece of his campaign. "And several down-ticket candidates endorsed by Trump because they clung to his lies about widespread election fraud sputtered against statewide incumbents closely tied to the governor," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution adds.
The former president "has obsessively worked to defeat Republicans who did not work to overturn his 2020 election loss, endorsing and sometimes recruiting their primary challengers," so "Tuesday's results in Georgia amounted to a significant blow to Trump" and his "reputation as GOP kingmaker," The Washington Post reports. "Some powerful Republicans saw the Georgia primary as a potential inflection point that could shift the party away from re-litigating the last election and blunt Trump's efforts to turn many primaries into score-settling affairs over 2020."
Former Gov. Chris Christe (R-N.J.), who endorsed Kemp along with former Vice President Mike Pence and other top Republicans, congratulated Georgia on refusing "to kick out a great governor or be willing participants in the DJT Vendetta Tour."