There is a pretty steady drum beat that can be heard coming out of Georgia that may, neigh, will have national implications.
To be clear, Governor Brian Kemp has not publicly made any comments that he is in the race for the GOP Nomination for President. But his actions and other public statements… makes one start humming that old C+C Music Factory song.
C’mon, Gen X, you know the one. At least the chorus… the verse doesn’t really apply. God, at least I hope not.
But I digress…
On a recent edition of the podcast, Pye, Buzz and I tackled the appearance of what could be a very nascent Kemp Presidential campaign. In fact, I bet my cohosts a six pack of their favorite beverage that Kemp ends up in Iowa before the end of the Presidential Campaign Season.
My confidence is rooted in an appearance by the Governor on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper a couple weeks ago wherein Kemp articulated a forward looking vision for the direction of the party and by extension our country.
“We have to tell people, No. 1, what we’re for. No. 2, that we’re going to be focused on the future and what we’re going to do for the voters in our state or the American people. And then, No. 3, we have to do a simple thing: We have to win,” -Emphasis addedBrian Kemp to Jake Tapper, full interview linked above.
It just felt like someone kicking tires. Dipping a toe. The briefest of tests to determine if the needle moved at all.
News also broke that same weekend that Kemp had said similar things to a group of Republican donors in, checks notes, Nashville, i.e., not Georgia. “Not a single swing voter in a single swing state will vote for our nominee if they choose to talk about the 2020 election being stolen. To voters trying to pay their rent … make their car payment … or put their kids through college … 2020 is ancient history,”
And then comes EIC Emeritus of Peach Pundit, Erick Erickson, with a video that created significant buzz about how Trump slammed Kemp for reopening Georgia.
When Pye, Buzz, and I discussed this, I thought I would troll the Governor a little by texting him a link to the podcast. Because he is Brian Kemp, he responded in good humor, “enjoyed the podcast and even though you all have different opinions…you are all FAKE news.” I am sure he had his tongue in his cheek when he added that he would let us know if or when he heads to Iowa.
Next the Governor gave two speeches in the same week wherein he blasted the Biden administration. By themselves these speeches would not ordinarily be noteworthy…
Republican Governor blaming a sitting Democrat President for inflationary policies, just another day in politics. Just one beat of a drum, which by itself is meaningless. But when you string them together with all of the other beats and we are beginning to hear a rhythm.
Jump to the rhythm, jump, jump to the rhythm, jump. No wait.. wrong C+C Music Factory Song…
That steady beat is in fact moving the needle, at least somewhat. I was in D.C. last week for a conference hosted by The American Enterprise Institute where I attended alongside dozens of other activists from around the country. These are the people who are working to advance free market and limited government principles in local communities. They are plugged in an informed. I was constantly asked by my fellow attendees if I thought Kemp would run. It was clear that he is now on the radar at least as a potential candidate.
I believe the wider Republican base has a hunger for someone to enter the race that has proven that they can withstand the attacks from Trump and emerge stronger for it. Someone who also understands the necessity to build a coalition of all types of voters by casting a vision of America that promises economic opportunity and makes a case that the American Dream is obtainable for all of us. Someone who is looking forward, not back, and has proven that they can remain focused on delivering that vision in spite of the massive distractions that pollute our current political landscape.
In other words, someone like Governor Kemp.
To balance all of this, the likelihood of Trump winning the nomination increases with every new entrant into the race. With seven candidates declared already (what, you didn’t know it was that many?) and DeSantis taking daily shots even though he has yet to announce, the rumor of more candidates must be music to Trump’s ears. Governor Kemp’s potential entry into another crowded field does have significant risks.
All of that to say, we do in fact hear the rhythm of a steady drumbeat but are not completely convinced Kemp will get into the race. Nonetheless we are going to be watching and listening for the rhythm to continue. It’s is going to be an interesting couple of months.