Trump looms over Republican nominating contest for Georgia governor
“I would think it does give the edge to Kemp,” said Charles Bullock, a political science professor at the University of Georgia.
Recent polls show a close race. The winner of Tuesday’s contest will face Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is vying to become the first black woman to serve as a U.S. state governor, in what is expected to be one of the most hotly contested races in November’s midterm elections. Trump carried Georgia by five percentage points in 2016.
The Republican nominating race has been marked by fiercely negative campaigning.
That last comment likely referred to Kemp’s political advertisements, in which he jokingly threatened a teenage boy who wanted to date his daughter with a shotgun and promised to “round up” illegal immigrants in his truck.
Deal, who cannot run again due to term limits, endorsed Cagle last week, a move countered two days later when Trump posted his support for Kemp on Twitter.
“Brian is very strong on Crime and Borders, LOVES our Military, Vets and the 2nd Amendment. He will be a GREAT Governor!” Trump said in another tweet backing Kemp on Saturday, ahead of Vice President Mike Pence’s appearance with the candidate at a campaign event.
Both candidates have embraced Trump and have similar policy positions, including support for gun rights, lower taxes and tough anti-illegal immigration measures.
Cagle would likely be a stronger general election candidate than Kemp, whose heated rhetoric could alienate women voters in a race against Abrams, according to Bullock.