Trump's 2000 Mules Got Stuck in Georgia Clay
Incumbency matters greatly. The only races Donald Trump had a distinct impact in were the open races for Lt. Governor and United States Senate. Even then, it is somewhat limited. Walker is Herschel Walker. Trump induced him to run and Walker did not need Trump’s help thereafter.
Burt Jones, the candidate for Lieutenant Governor, spent more money than his opponent, Butch Miller, and as of this writing is teetering on the edge of a runoff, but might get by without one.
In the Sixth Congressional District, Trump endorsed Jake Evans managed to get second place in a runoff against Rich McCormick. McCormick is at 45% and Evans is in the low twenties. In the Tenth Congressional District, Vernon Jones is fighting it out to be in a runoff with Mike Collins, the first-place winner. Collins will win that runoff.
Incumbency helped more than Trump and several pollsters tell me that we focused so much on Trump support, but actually, there was a contingent who’d vote against Trump’s candidates.
David Perdue got blown out of the water by Brian Kemp. It was a disaster for Perdue. Kemp is winning every county in Georgia by a landslide. What a disaster for Perdue, his reputation, and his team.
But here’s why this has a lot to do with Trump and “stop the steal”
Trump went after three Georgia Republicans more aggressively than any other candidates in the nation: Governor Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and Attorney General Chris Carr.
That Brad Raffensperger won without a runoff tells me voters have had enough of Trump’s stolen election grievances. They are ready to move on. They want to look forward, not be pawns to Trump’s ego. Raffensperger’s win is the big indicator this really had more to do with Trump than I was first willing to believe.
Donald Trump literally told Brad Raffensperger that Trump would destroy him and Raffensperger even exceeded fifty percent of the vote in Marjorie Taylor Greene’s district. Raffensperger was the scapegoat, the villain, and the responsible party who cost Trump Georgia, according to Trump. And Georgia’s Republican voters just re-nominated him. His race was so close and there was a Democrat cross-over. So Trump could argue Democrats made it happen. But it does not matter. Trump failed to persuade enough Republicans to reject him.
Trump bullied and denounced Attorney General Chris Carr and Carr crushed his Trump-endorsed opponent. Trump and his team convinced a man who had retired from the practice of law to get his license back just to challenge Carr. It did not work out well.
Even John King, the state’s Insurance Commissioner, decisively crushed his opponent, Patrick Witt, whose campaign signs had, in big letters, “Trump Endorsed.”
For those outside Georgia, that race is particularly telling because King had no real name ID as an appointee who stepped into the office when the elected Insurance Commissioner got indicted. King had no real campaign machine and traveled the state with Brian Kemp.
King crushed his opponent and will go on to be Georgia’s first statewide elected Hispanic official.
As an aside, the Georgia GOP Chairman, David Shafer, had a hand in finding candidates for Trump, even against his own incumbent Republicans. He was a no-show at the Kemp event and was not missed by the elected officials. He won’t resign because Shafer is Shafer, but his remaining will further marginalize the actual Republican Party in Georgia from the elected Republicans. Shafer does not care though. He’s all about David Shafer, not the GOP.
Donald Trump overplayed his hand and Shafer helped him do it. The “Stop the Steal” brigade got stuck in Georgia’s clay. Georgia’s Republicans are ready to move on from the Trump drama to something else — call it the future. And Trump is the past. He has influence still. He has clout. But it must be used more delicately.
Trump’s Vice President had a big night in Georgia. Trump did not. That’ll impact both men’s calculus for 2024.
Lastly, will Donald Trump please realize how some of his close associates used him to get rich in Georgia? They got him to endorse flawed candidates. They made massive coin as consultants. Their candidates lost, they got rich, and Trump got a black eye. Wake up, Donald. You’ve been used and now have a self-inflicted wound in Georgia.