As you know, former Democratic Minority Leader and 2018 Democratic nominee for Governor Stacey Abrams announced another run for Governor. Jason and I talked about it during the podcast. Since the podcast, news has continued to break on this story. Let’s look at some of this new news.
Over at HotAir.com AllahPundit has two articles I think provide some good observations about the race. The first offered reasons why Abrams decided to run, when some look at 2022 as a potentially really good year for the GOP. Let me highlight one of the reasons listed:
3. The GOP is divided. The national forecast may be calling for a red wave next year but in Georgia Republicans are at each other’s throats due to Trump’s lingering butthurt over the 2020 election. Jody Hice is primarying Brad Raffensperger for secretary of state. Lieutenant Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Trump critic, isn’t running for reelection given the expectation that he wouldn’t survive a primary. Brian Kemp might be facing his own formidable primary challenger in David Perdue, but even if Perdue passes on the race Trump will spend the first half of next year savaging Kemp and eventually backing some other challenger. No one has taken more abuse from him over the election results than the governor of Georgia has, probably because losing a southern state was Trump’s most embarrassing defeat last fall. With MAGA voters destined to be lukewarm at best about Kemp if he’s the nominee, Abrams smells opportunity.
Trump couldn’t help himself and issued a statement about Abrams jumping in. As usual, it is a wonder to behold. Then former Georgian Sean Hannity wondered why Kemp doesn’t drop out claiming Kemp has been “ineffective.” Let’s be honest, Hannity means Kemp was “ineffective” in overturning the 2020 election results via some sort of extra-legal means.
AllahPundit was back again today with thoughts on the Trump/Hannity vs. Kemp feud.
In a vacuum, with the national environment so favorable to Republicans, the GOP’s strategy in Georgia would be simple. Unite behind Kemp, who has the advantages of incumbency and name recognition, in the governor’s race and look for some Glenn Youngkin type to challenge Raphael Warnock for Senate. A Youngkin-esque candidate might be able to undo the Democrats’ gains in Georgia’s suburbs while consolidating the MAGA vote. The task for Republicans should be easier in Georgia, which Biden won by a hair, than it was in Virginia, which he won by 10 points.
But the simple strategy isn’t simple because Trump has a vendetta against Kemp and has thrown has support behind MAGA loyalist Herschel Walker in the Senate race, making him a prohibitive favorite for the nomination. Trump may also yet succeed in luring David Perdue or some other challenger into a primary against Kemp. If he does, a lot can go wrong for Trump. Kemp might win the primary anyway, proving Trump to be weaker than thought in Georgia. Or Kemp might lose the primary and the nominee might go on to lose to Abrams, in which case Trump will be blamed for having divided the party by scapegoating Kemp for his election butthurt. Or Walker’s “colorful” history could come back to hurt him in the general election, potentially making him a drag on the gubernatorial nominee too. Trump would also be blamed for that, promoting a not-ready-for-primetime buddy instead of choosing a more electable candidate.
He’ll probably insist on campaigning in Georgia too. Unless Republicans clean up there, he’ll be second-guessed for making himself a presence in the state instead of avoiding it, as he did in Virginia to Youngkin’s benefit.
AllahPundit also points out that Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican and one of the most popular Governor in American, decided not to run again after Trump endorsed a primary challenger. Thus the state will likely revert back to Democratic control, all because Trump cannot abide a Republican whose loyalty is not first to him.
Meanwhile Abrams appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and made the astounding claim that she never challenged the results of her 2018 loss.
Abrams told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow that she spent more than 10 years in the Georgia Legislature and worked hard to combat Kemp’s “egregious and aggressive voter suppression activities” during his time as Georgia secretary of state before they faced off in 2018, and on the night of Nov. 16 she “acknowledged” she would not be governor and that Kemp had “won the election.”
That was 10 days after Election Day when she delivered what was billed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a “non-concession speech” in which she said, “I will not concede because the erosion of our democracy is not right,” even as she acknowledged there was no “viable” path forward and that Kemp would be certified the winner. During remarks in the intervening years, she has claimed she won the election .
“I did not challenge the outcome of the election, unlike some recent folks did,” the Democrat insisted to Maddow, continuing her commentary about the night of Nov. 16.
Brace yourself for many more verbal gymnastics from Team Abrams on this and a host of other issues.
Finally, the Cook Political Report moved our Governor’s race into the “tossup” category after Abrams announcement. Would they have done that if the GOP was united? I doubt it. To be sure, Abrams is formidable. She came very close in 2018 and has clearly built a grassroots juggernaut. However, 2022 will be a strong GOP year nationally. But the divided GOP, fueled by Trump and his allies, put this race in jeopardy for Kemp and threatens the entire Republican slate. Trump needs to let bygones be bygones and get with the program. However, given his personality and track record, I won’t be holding my breath for that to happen.