Kemp Victory Could Test Trump's Influence Over GOP Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (Getty Images)
By Brian Pfail | Tuesday, 01 November 2022 01:05 PM EDT
Former President Donald Trump has balked at endorsing Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who might represent a pathway forward in a post-Trump GOP.
In an interview, CNN's Kaitlan Collins asked Kemp why he thinks Trump has not visited for a rally or public endorsement.
Kemp responded, "I don't know, you"d have to ask him that question. Look, I'm focusing on getting our vote out."
He added: "I appreciate what President Trump did for the state of Georgia. His administration was incredible to work with. … They did a lot of things to help us during the pandemic and many other issues that we dealt with.
"We also did a lot of things to help them, to help the federal administration during" the early portion of the pandemic.
Trump still holds a grudge against Kemp, who refused to overturn the 2020 elections. Trump even recruited and campaigned for Kemp's primary challenger, Sen. David Perdue.
Kemp's primary victory has proven that he is immune to the whims of Trump. Kemp is favored to win a second term as he faces Stacey Abrams for a second time.
If victorious, Kemp could prove that Republicans do not need the "Trump-approved" stamp, leaving the groundwork for other GOP candidates to stand against Trump. If Kemp wins, he could be the possible avenue for a post-Trump era, at least within the Republican party.
Trump lost Georgia during the 2020 election. His endorsement would help Kemp avoid a repeat of 2018 where the race against Abrams is extremely tight.
Herschel Walker, a Trump-endorsed candidate marred in past controversy, could swing the balance of power back to Republicans only two years after they lost it in a pair of runoff elections.
Walker is looking to unseat Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. Kemp has remained relatively silent on Walker's race, though he's endorsed him and plans to vote for him.
"In that race, you're going to vote for a guy, our current senator that's voted with Joe Biden 96% of the time," said Kemp to CNN, "or you're going to vote for somebody that's going to go up there [to Capitol Hill] and try to do something about 40-year high inflation, terrible domestic energy policy that's led to high gas prices, literally a disaster at the border."
Early voting has reached record numbers in Georgia. Kemp says he is confident in a victory.
"We're going to do a property tax-relief grant. We're going to continue to be in the fight with our men and women in law enforcement," said Kemp to CNN. "We're going to keep working on rural broadband."
Regardless of the election, Kemp will appear before a special grand jury for Trump's alleged attempts to undermine the 2020 election. Kemp says he will rely on the truth and laws bounded by the constitution of the state.