Trump speaking at Georgia GOP convention that Kemp was already boycotting

The Georgia Republican Party says Trump will speak at its 2023 convention next month,
ANF+ Political Update: Kemp for President? New poll shows how Kemp stacks up
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 5:34 AM EDT|Updated: May. 18, 2023 at 9:07 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - While Georgia’s most politically powerful GOP governor in recent memory may be boycotting this year’s Georgia Republican convention, his party’s most influential figure isn’t.

Late Wednesday, the Georgia Republican Party announced former president Donald Trump will headline the 2023 convention, set for June 9 at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center.

This is the first time Trump has spoken in Georgia since his reelection announcement back in November, after which came an immediate endorsement from U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is also speaking at this year’s convention.

Wednesday’s announcement that Trump - who is facing a host of legal issues here in Georgia and elsewhere, along with the political turbulence his presence brings - came after the release of a new poll showing he is leading Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis by a 40%-32% margin in Georgia.

The poll, conducted by Atlanta-based Landmark Communication, shows Kemp at 7% should he mount a 2024 White House campaign. The statewide poll was conducted among of 800 likely Georgia Republican primary voters.

DeSantis, according to The Wall Street Journal, is reportedly filing paperwork next week to formally launch a presidential bid.

In the poll, Kemp’s 7% comes in as more favorable than declared candidate Nikki Haley (5.9%) and big names in the party like former Vice President Mike Pence (2.4%), businessman Vivek Ramaswamy (2%) and even undecided Georgia voters (6.2%).

Kemp has not formally entered the race and has given no public indications he will launch a 2024 presidential campaign. His office had no comment on the poll released Tuesday.

Kemp, however, has urged other Republican donors, party leaders and voters not to “look in the rearview mirror” as the 2024 presidential election nears, a veiled reference to Trump.

In late April, Kemp, as reported by CNN, told donors at a private 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.”

The next day, 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 has also been keeping an active political schedule, speaking last month at the Republican National Committee’s annual meeting, and at a donor retreat in Sea Island, Georgia last week where he told reporters that a presidential run would be up to him and his family. He’s also set to appear at a speaking event in New York later this week.

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.

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


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