The Big Lie is not only the Trump machination that almost brought democracy down to its knees, it is still the source of the major rift in the GOP. While the MAGAs madly campaign on behalf of the Big Lie, what is left of the Old Guard GOP campaign against it. Nowhere do you see a better example of that than in Georgia, which is still Ground Zero in the political universe this election year.
Mike Pence opposes the Big Lie. He’s made no bones about that. Therefore it is not the least bit surprising that one of his top aides, Marc Short, is down in Georgia assisting Brian Kemp’s survival in the GOP primary. Axios:
Driving the news: Former President Trump has endorsed Kemp’s re-election challenger, former Sen. David Perdue. Kemp is leading the polls in their May 24 primary, though, and Short has been brought in to turbocharge the governor’s national fundraising ahead of a potential general election re-match with Stacey Abrams.
Short has also been advising Kemp’s team on broader political strategy, according to a source familiar with the arrangement.
The Kemp campaign confirmed Short’s involvement to Axios.
Why it matters: Short’s move to join one of Trump’s most prominent GOP targets illuminates the deepening fault lines inside the party — and between Trump and his former vice president.
The campaign is one of the nation’s most high-profile contested Republican primaries.
Short is closely aligned with Pence — and now working for a candidate who refused Trump’s demands to overturn the state’s 2020 election results.
Georgia not only went for Joe Biden in 2020 but sent two Democrats to the Senate in January 2021. That resulted in their party gaining control not just of the White House but the Senate as well as the House.
The intrigue: A source close to Trump told Axios the former president is watching the Georgia governor’s race intently and with some anxiety.
In a tele-rally Monday, Trump predicted a Kemp primary victory could hurt other Republicans in November, as reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Trump has consistently trashed Kemp since the last election and gone all-in for Perdue — including holding a March rally in Commerce, Georgia.
Nonetheless, the former senator remains an average of more than 15 points behind Kemp in public polls. (A candidate needs more than 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff.)
A Kemp victory would be a blow to Trump’s ego and undermine the perceived power of his endorsements.
Again, Trump is purportedly the kingmaker. That is the theory that is being borne out in Ohio — or will be borne out later on today, as the GOP primary goes forward. J.D. Vance’s game plan is to become a senator and then a GOP presidential candidate in 2028. He looks to be taking a powerful first step towards that in the Ohio GOP primary.
As to David Perdue, he was yesterday’s burnt toast before he got involved in the primary against Brian Kemp. He’s pretty much beyond salvation. But that doesn’t mean that the race isn’t very interesting indeed for other reasons, not the least being the Pence/Short/Kemp alliance which has been formed.