Georgia Governor Brian Kemp Draws Challenger in GOP Primary

Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp is facing a primary challenge from a former Democratic state legislator who switched parties after endorsing Donald Trump in 2020.

Vernon Jones, who just joined the party in January, announced his run in a tweet Friday, saying the state needed a candidate who would fight for Georgia.

The race could test Trump’s influence in the state. Republicans are also challenging Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a primary and Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan has said he’s not likely to run again amid criticism of their handling of the 2020 election.

Kemp, Raffensperger and Duncan all resisted Trump’s demands that they sway the state’s 2020 election results in his favor. GOP county delegates are planning to censure all three in conventions on Saturday. Across the U.S., grassroots party members have shunned those who haven’t shown fealty to the defeated ex-president.

Voting activist Stacey Abrams in widely expected to run as a Democrat in the general election.

Jones, who like Abrams is Black, drew national attention for his decision to endorse Trump last year and has been embraced by Trump Republicans in the state. But his long record as a Democrat -- including serving as chief executive of Democratic stronghold DeKalb County in Atlanta -- may work against him with primary voters. So might his voting record as a legislator. He opposed an anti-abortion bill popular with Republicans.

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