Former President Donald Trump will not hold a rally in Georgia for Herschel Walker before next week’s runoff election against incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA).
According to Michael Bender of the New York Times, Trump will avoid the state after his team agreed with Georgia Republicans the former president might not only motivate Democrats to get out and vote but could also end up suppressing turnout among moderate Republicans:
The decision to keep Mr. Trump out of the spotlight was a response largely to the former president’s political style and image, which can energize his core supporters but also motivate Democratic voters and turn off significant segments of moderate Republicans.
In Georgia, that political math has become a net deficit for Mr. Trump, who opened his 2024 presidential campaign two weeks ago. In 2020, he was the first Republican presidential candidate to lose the state in 28 years. Earlier this year, his handpicked primary challengers to Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger were both trounced.
While Trump still wields significant influence among Republicans nationally, Peach State conservatives have broken with him on more than one occasion as some data shows what could be perceived as a repudiation of the former president.
Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) won their respective races last January after Trump rallied for then-incumbent GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. Perdue, who had the full backing of Trump, was later trounced in the gubernatorial primary by Gov. Brian Kemp (R).
Kemp easily defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams in this month’s general election – without ever getting the former president’s endorsement.
Trump’s hand-picked candidate to unseat Raffensperger also faltered in the primary. Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) lost the race with only 34% support while Raffensperger easily crossed the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff.
Some conservatives view Trump as politically toxic after the GOP underperformed in the midterms. The former president is also navigating another self-inflicted wound after he hosted two anti-Semites at Mar-a-Lago last week.
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