Trump, Kemp, and Incumbency
It is SEC Primary day. Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia all have their primaries. In Alabama, Trump rejected Mo Brooks after endorsing him and moved over to establishment lackey Katie Britt, who will be a long time vote for the Chamber of Commerce if elected. Brooks and Britt are probably headed into a runoff.
Sarah Sanders is expected to win the GOP nomination in Arkansas for Governor.
Texas has its runoffs today too.
In Georgia, Trump is going to get a drubbing on his endorsements. But, truth be told, as the media makes it all about Trump, it has very little to do with him. First, multiple candidates tell me that their polling shows Trump supporting a candidate causes about 10-13% of voters to vote for that candidate and causes 10-13% of voters to vote against the candidate. So Trump’s appeal may cause a 3% bump, but probably no bump at all.
Additionally, incumbency matters way more. Voters get to know the candidates as elected officials over four years.
Herschel Walker would not have gotten into the race, but for Trump’s support, but Walker is Walker. He didn’t need Trump’s support. In fact, Walker has increasingly walked away from the “stolen election” mantra as he has gotten more comfortable being his own man. Walker will win because he is Herschel Walker, not because he is Donald Trump’s chosen candidate.
Brian Kemp is the biggest Trump target. He is expected to win without a runoff today despite the entire Trump operation coming in for David Perdue. Here’s your big tip-off on how this will play out — Stacey Abrams has raised more money from residents of Georgia than David Perdue. Kemp has raised more money from Georgia residents than Perdue and Abrams combined.
Kemp is his own man now.
The media often says Abrams came close to winning in 2018. That is not true. Abrams came close to losing in a runoff. She was never close to winning and would not have won in the runoff. Kemp’s machine was too big. But Kemp was hindered in suburbia by his ties to Trump.
Those no longer exist. Suburban white voters who were hesitant to support Kemp in 2018 because he was too close to Trump have now swung in his direction. They are not progressive voters. They are more moderate than me, lean Republican, and care greatly about their income and their kids. They are not voting for a childless progressive woman who laments increasing incarcerations under Brian Kemp. That may sound cold, but it is the reality.
Abrams’ demographic is people who cannot vote for her — coastal progressive white people who pride themselves on only being latently racist. They keep black kids out of their kids’ schools while throwing money at black progressive candidates around the nation. Stacey Abrams is their Black Beto. Like Beto, she’ll win the magazine cover wars and lose the voters.
Trump got played by his advisors, many of whom are cashing in on Georgia with losing candidates who got Trump’s endorsement. Trump endorsed deeply flawed candidates in the Attorney General race and Insurance Commissioner race in Georgia. Trump-associated grifters are going to make a ton of money off Trump’s endorsement while Trump loses. They get a “lounge lizard of truth” bus ride into obscurity.
If there are any lessons here, there are two big ones.
First, incumbency matters. The incumbent candidates will win, despite Trump’s opposition, because voters know them. Even Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger will get into a runoff.
Second, Trump got used by his own former staff. They got Trump to endorse people he did not really know so they could get rich and Trump gets a black eye on his win/loss record of endorsements. But it was Trump’s choice and he gave his blessing.