Gov. Brian Kemp: No 2024 plans, but ‘always doors opening and closing’

Speculation continues to mount that Georgia’s popular two-term governor could enter next year’s presidential race.
Governor Brian Kemp finally offered some insight into why he didn’t attend the state GOP convention in Columbus this past weekend.
Published: Jun. 13, 2023 at 10:58 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 13, 2023 at 2:31 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - As GOP White House frontrunner Donald Trump prepares for another arraignment, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp continued downplaying conjecture that he could mount a White House run in 2024.

But “in politics there are always doors opening closing,” Kemp told CBS News on Monday. “I’ve learned over the years its better for me to stay focused on the task at hand,” which, Kemp said, is ensuring Republicans win Georgia in 2024 and maintain its strong majority in the state House and Senate.

Georgia’s two-term governor has been frequently mentioned as a late entry into the Republican field, which now totals at least 10 high-profile candidates.

“I have a lot of friends in that race,” Kemp said. When asked if he’d make an endorsement before next year’s Georgia Republican primary, Kemp said he might “or I may not.” He added he would support the GOP nominee regardless of who it is.

Kemp also pointed to a poll released last week by Cygnal, an international polling, public opinion and analytics firm, and Hardworking Americans, Kemp’s federal PAC established after his successful reelection campaign. The poll showed Trump is the only Republican who gives President Joe Biden a chance at winning Georgia in 2024. While the poll showed Trump underperforming, “it also showed Biden underperforming in Georgia.

“What Republicans need to get focused on is not this [latest] indictment,” Kemp said. “This is not top-of-mind for most folks right now. Most people are concerned about crime, the border, inflation, and whether they’re going to have a job this time next year or next month. We’ve seen what happens when you don’t win: 40-year high inflation, disaster in Afghanistan after our withdrawal, disaster at the southern border ...

“The reason I’ve been critical of former President Trump is because he needs to stay focused on the issues.”

Kemp also declined an appearance at this past weekend’s Georgia GOP convention over what he called “a fundamental disagreement” with former chair David Shafer, who Kemp said “was actively working against a sitting Republican majority.

“I’m a proud Republican and I had a lot of friends who went [to the convention] but for obvious reasons, I decided not to go,” Kemp said.

Kemp said Trump has been “unfairly” targeted in the past but he has “some serious concerns about this indictment. At the end of the day, a jury will make the decision.”

Trump has been indicted on charges of mishandling classified documents at his Florida estate, making him the first former president in U.S. history to face criminal charges by the federal government that he once oversaw.

The indictment carries unmistakably grave legal consequences, including the possibility of prison if Trump is convicted.

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