The 2020 election didn’t go so well for Donald Trump — especially in Georgia. The once reliably red state swung blue for the first time since Bush (the first one) was in office. A few months later, it elected two Democratic senators, giving the party control of the chamber. Trump is now throwing his weight behind Herschel Walker in the Republican Senate primary and David Perdue in the gubernatorial primary in an effort to turn the state MAGA this November. It hasn’t been going great.
Politico reported on Friday that a pair of Republican groups are launching a campaign to ensure the party’s nomination doesn’t go to Walker, whom many feel could get demolished by incumbent Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock. Walker may be loyal to Trump, but he has a history of alleged domestic abuse. Walker’s ex-wife, for instance, said he once held a gun to her head and told her he was going to “blow [her] fucking brains out.” She later filed for divorce, citing “physically abusive and extremely threatening behavior,” according to the Associated Press, whose requests for comment went unanswered.
Walker has also made a series of concerning comments, considering he wants to be an elected representative. The other week he said he didn’t understand how humans could have evolved from apes. “At one time science said, man came from apes. Did it not?” Walker said at a church outside of Atlanta. “If that is true, why are there still apes? Think about it.”
The two Republican PACs trying to take down Walker seem to have conceded that he’s going to land more votes than his challengers during the May 24 primary, according to Politico, but are launching a series of attack ads in an effort to at least force a runoff. “Folks, he can’t win in November,” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, one of Walker’s Republican challengers, said earlier this week. “The baggage is too heavy. It’ll never happen.”
Republicans are also none too pleased with Trump’s other favored high-profile Georgia Republican, David Perdue, the former senator Democrat Jon Ossof unseated last year. Perdue is now running to take down Governor Brian Kemp, whom Trump despises because he didn’t make more of an effort to illegally overturn the state’s 2020 election results. CNN reported on Thursday that Trump is struggling to get his MAGA allies on board with opposing Kemp’s reelection. The reasoning is familiar, with many believing Perdue would get waxed by presumptive Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost to Kemp in 2018 amid allegations that Kemp, then the secretary of state, may have used his position to tilt the scales in his favor. Trump has even called Perdue a “long-shot” to win the race.
CNN notes that the candidates Trump has endorsed in the state’s three other high-profile races — Burt Jones for lieutenant governor, Jody Hice for secretary of state, and Walker — have so far refrained from endorsing Perdue against Kemp. “Herschel is laser-focused on winning the primary in May and the general in November,” Mallory Blount, a spokeswoman for the Walker campaign, told the outlet when reached for comment. Jones and Hice have stayed mum.
Trump, however, is laser-focused on getting revenge on Kemp, regardless of how it may impact the party’s chances of retaining the governor’s mansion. “If Kemp wins, I think Herschel Walker is going to be very seriously and negatively impacted because Republicans that happen to like Donald Trump — MAGA Republicans — are not going to go and vote for this guy Kemp,” the former president tried to reason last Saturday during a rally to support Walker and Perdue.
Trump’s obsession with the 2020 election results may be so troubling to Georgia conservatives because many believe it already cost them the two Senate races last January, as a significant chunk of the MAGA faithful may have stayed home after buying into Trump’s claims that the state’s voting systems were rigged. Trump is just as obsessed well over a year later, and it could, once again, sabotage the party’s chances in the state.