Despite a busy schedule of outrage-quelling following Monday’s face-palm press conference with Vladimir Putin, President Trump on Wednesday managed to weigh in on next Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff for Georgia governor. Though the state’s primary was held in May, leading Republican vote-getter Casey Cagle failed to receive 50 percent of the vote, forcing a runoff with second-place finisher Brian Kemp, Georgia’s current secretary of state whom Cagle bested by 13 percentage points. Trump’s endorsement tweet read like most of the president’s social media nods, touting the candidate’s strong stance on the border, the military, veterans and guns.
Brian Kemp is running for Governor of the great state of Georgia. The Primary is on Tuesday. Brian is tough on crime, strong on the border and illegal immigration. He loves our Military and our Vets and protects our Second Amendment. I give him my full and total endorsement.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2018
Though Cagle has long been the favorite to succeed current governor Nathan Deal, Kemp has narrowed the gap in recent weeks thanks in part to multiple scandals that have befallen Cagle, but also due to Kemp’s bold advertising campaign, which is astonishing in how directly it appeals to culture-concerned Trump supporters. The commercials first drew national attention in May, when Kemp released a 30-second spot called “So Conservative.”
Here’s the full transcript, which reads like a string of Trump-country haikus.
“I’m Brian Kemp. I’m so conservative, I blow up government spending. I own guns, and no one’s taking ’em away. My chainsaw’s ready to rip up some regulation. I got a big truck, just in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take ’em home myself. Yep, I just said that. I’m Brian Kemp. If you want a politically incorrect conservative, that’s me.”
“They’re working great,” Kemp told Fox News of the ad spots. “People are really resonating to it. It’s driving the left crazy. The good, hard-working people of Georgia just love them.”
“It’s really interesting how many people will come up to me and give me one of the lines in our last commercial or two,” he added. Two months before he gassed up his chainsaw, Kemp released an ad entitled “Track and Deport” in which he scowled at the camera alongside pictures of gang members.
After forcing Cagle into a runoff, Kemp released “Warm,” in which he attacked his opponent from the bed of his F-350, shotgun over his shoulder, chainsaw at his side. The guitar picking is as folksy as his drawl, which is about as slack-jawed as they come.
Earlier this week, Kemp released a commercial that he clarifies is not intended for anyone offended by his preference to stand up whenever the national anthem is played. “I’m Brian Kemp, and I believe in God, family and country – in that order,” he says. “I say Merry Christmas, and God bless you. I strongly support President Trump, our troops and ironclad borders. I stand for our national anthem. If any of this offends you, then I’m not your guy. If you’re ready for a politically incorrect conservative who will end corrupt pay-to-play politics, I’m Brian Kemp, and I’m asking for your vote.”
Two days later, the president tweeted his endorsement.
The commercials seem to be working. Kemp is now polling right alongside Cagle, and the endorsement from Trump could be just what was needed to push him over the top. If he is indeed able to hold off Cagle next Tuesday, he’ll go on to face Democrat Stacey Abrams in the general election. Abrams is seeking to become the first African American woman to helm a state’s legislature, and a battle with Kemp would be fierce. Kemp isn’t likely to be able to dig up as much dirt on Abrams as he did on Cagle, though, meaning his success in November could come down to how much weight that F-350 can tow.