Former Vice President Mike Pence will campaign for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on the eve of his May 24 primary against Trump-backed former Sen. David Perdue.
Why it matters: Pence’s decision to back one of former President Trump’s most prominent GOP targets puts the fractures inside the Republican Party, and between Trump and his former vice president, on stark display.
- The Georgia governor’s race is one of the nation’s most high-profile contested Republican primaries.
What he’s saying: “Brian Kemp is one of the most successful conservative governors in America,” Pence wrote in a statement, calling Kemp a friend. “I am proud to offer my full support for four more years of Brian Kemp as governor of the great state of Georgia!”
Catch up quick: The news comes after Axios first reported that Pence’s former chief of staff Marc Short had joined Kemp’s campaign as a senior adviser.
The big picture: Kemp has also lined up campaign support from fellow Trump targets including Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, Gov. Pete Ricketts of Nebraska and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
- Former President George W. Bush is headlining a fundraiser for Kemp in Dallas on Monday.
Of note: The last time Pence campaigned in Georgia was to support Perdue and former Sen. Kelly Loeffler in the Georgia runoffs.
The other side: Trump has criticized Kemp consistently since the last election and thrown all his support behind Perdue. He held a March rally in Commerce, Georgia, a tele-rally after that and donated half a million dollars to Perdue’s campaign.
- But the former senator remains an average of 22 points behind Kemp in public polls, and Kemp has nearly 12 times more cash on hand than Perdue.
- According to a source familiar with the situation, no plans for another in-person Trump event are in the works right now, but another tele-rally is likely.
What’s next: A candidate needs more than 50% of the vote to avoid a June runoff.