James Jan-Feb 2021 web - Flipbook - Page 24
The betting odds right now would be against Kemp.
There is no doubt, at present, that Trump would actively
campaign against him and that Trump supporters from
around the country would fill the coffers of a challenger
in a GOP primary which Kemp could face in 2022. Current polling shows that any GOP opponent will start with
around 40 percent of likely Republican voter support.
However, I didn’t grow up as a child in the Georgia
governor’s office around the likes of Lester Maddox and
Jimmy Carter not to learn a thing or two long before I
reached my General Assembly years and the likes of Zell
Miller and Roy Barnes.
Georgia’s governor is vested constitutionally with
immense power. By this time next year there will be
plenty of appointed positions to have been handed out
and plenty of bills that required the governor’s signature.
Power has a way of taming the higher end of the political
food chain, which often is the only end that needs taming.
If Trump considers another run for president, he might
even come to recognize that fighting with a powerful governor is not the best move in a state that is so precariously
on the edge of becoming blue.
Can Kemp regain his political footing?
My guess is that despite being stubborn, Kemp will
power forward and regain his footing… at least enough
to have more than a sporting chance in a primary fight.
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He has name identification and power that a lieutenant
governor or secretary of state simply doesn’t enjoy.
Yet, in a general election, Kemp will find a state now
wedded to drop boxes and supervised by a secretary of
state who flooded the place with absentee ballots and went
to war with Trump. A “leader” who even delegated the
training of election officials as to validity of absentee ballot
envelope signatures to a Democratic chosen handwriting
expert. The die has now been cast on Georgia’s version of
open and fair elections. That genie is out of the bottle.
And that gets me to Stacey Abrams. If anyone doubted how smart and able Abrams is, those doubts surely
have melted away. Ultimately if Kemp proves a one-term
governor, and ultimately if Republican majorities in Georgia disappear (even after controlling reapportionment, as
Democrats did prior to Governor Barnes’ defeat in 2002) it
will be courtesy of Abrams and her vote turnout efforts.
That is because no matter how accommodating Republican leaders might have been to her in 2020, Abrams
or her chosen surrogate will have no mercy on them in
2022. That means that Kemp will have to find every single
supporter he can in order pull off a re-election.
Brian Kemp must now stubbornly regain friends and
search for a few new ones. I’m betting he can.
Matt Towery, a former Georgia state legislator, is the co-founder and
chairman of James and InsiderAdvantage Georgia.
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