Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp tells GOP to focus on future, not ‘rearview mirror’

‘The road to the White House runs through Georgia,’ Republican governor says on national TV, tells GOP donors
FILE - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks at The Neighborhood Lot on July 29, 2022, in McDonough,...
FILE - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks at The Neighborhood Lot on July 29, 2022, in McDonough, Ga. Having vanquished both a Donald Trump-backed Republican challenger and Democratic star Stacey Abrams to win reelection, Kemp is looking to expand his influence in his second term, free from the caricature of the gun-toting, pickup-driving, migrant-catching country boy that emerged during his first campaign for governor. (AP Photo/Megan Varner, File)(Megan Varner | AP)
Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 11:51 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 17, 2023 at 11:54 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Gov. Brian Kemp continued warning his Republican Party over the weekend to “not look in the rearview mirror” as the 2024 presidential election nears, a veiled reference to former President Donald Trump.

Kemp, as reported by CNN, told donors at a private, Saturday GOP retreat in Nashville “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.”

On Sunday, Kemp appeared on State of the Union with Jake Tapper, and pushed back on Tapper’s assertion Georgia is a purple state in the wake of recent Democratic successes.

“Georgia is slightly red state, and the message I gave Saturday was pretty simple: we have to tell people what we’re for, we have to be focused on the future, and we have to win,” Kemp, who was handily re-elected last November, said.

“We cannot get distracted,” Kemp said. “If we get distracted by all of these things like the Democrats want us to do such as investigations, that only helps Joe Biden.”

Kemp’s remarks come in the wake of a poll released last Friday, showing former President Donald Trump is a heavy favorite in Georgia to win the 2024 Republican nomination.

Kemp did not say if he believed Trump is unelectable in Georgia, and stressed that is something voters will decide.

“The road to the White House is coming through Georgia as well as two or three other states,” Kemp said. “If we focus on the border, 40-year-high inflation, and our standing around the world, we have a great chance of winning the White House in 2024.”

Kemp was challenged last year in his re-election bid by Democrat Stacey Abrams, once considered one of her Democratic Party’s rising stars. The two faced each other in 2018 in a campaign for Georgia’s then-open governor’s seat, and Abrams lost by only a few thousand votes.

But last year, Kemp handily defeated Abrams and continued a statewide contingent of Republicans again occupying every statewide elected office.

However, Democrats now hold both of Georgia’s U.S. senate seats.

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