NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
Former Vice President Mike Pence has nothing but praise for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
“Brian Kemp is my friend, a man dedicated to faith, family and the people of Georgia. I am proud to offer my full support for four more years of Brian Kemp as governor of the great state of Georgia!,” the former vice president emphasized in a statement this weekend, as the Kemp campaign announced that Pence will campaign with Georgia’s conservative governor on the eve of the state’s May 24 primary.
Pence’s stop in Georgia will put him squarely at odds with his one-time boss, former President Donald Trump, who’s endorsed and is supporting former Sen. David Perdue’s primary challenge against Kemp.
The face-off between Kemp and Perdue is one of the most high-profile GOP primary showdowns in the 2022 election, but with Trump and Pence on opposing sides, Georgia’s gubernatorial primary also seems to be an early skirmish in a potential 2024 Republican presidential nomination showdown.
Four years ago, with the support of Trump, Kemp narrowly defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams to win the governorship. But Kemp earned Trump’s ire starting in late 2020, after the governor certified President Biden’s narrow victory in Georgia in the presidential election following multiple recounts of the vote. Trump, who had unsuccessfully urged the governor and other top Republican officials in the state to overturn the results, has now returned to Georgia twice to campaign against Kemp.
Trump for months urged Perdue to challenge the governor, and late last year he endorsed Perdue a day after the former senator launched his bid. Perdue declared his candidacy a few days after Abrams, an election reform champion and rising star in the Democratic Party, launched her second straight bid for governor. Trump held a rally with Perdue in Georgia a month and a half ago.
But regardless of Trump’s endorsement and support, with less than two weeks to go until Georgia’s primary, Kemp enjoys large leads over Perdue in two key campaign metrics – public opinion polling and fundraising.
Trump, who remains the most popular and influential politician in the Republican Party as he continues to play a kingmaker’s role in the 2022 GOP primaries, repeatedly teases another White House run in 2024. Meanwhile, Pence is making all the moves necessary in advance of a potential presidential run.
Kemp’s getting plenty of high-profile company in the closing days of his primary campaign. Kemp, who enjoys the backing of the Republican Governors Association, is being joined on the campaign trail by RGA co-chairs Govs. Doug Ducey of Arizona and Pete Ricketts of Nebraska. And Fox News was first to report on Thursday that former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a past RGA chair and 2016 Republican presidential contender, will join Kemp for campaign stops in Canton and Alpharetta, Georgia, on Tuesday.
Christie, a one-time close Trump friend and adviser who’s become a vocal GOP critic of the former president, has also openly discussed making a second White House run.
Pundits also see Ricketts, the term-limited Nebraska governor who’s in his final year in office, as a potential White House contender in 2024. Last week the candidate Ricketts was backing in the GOP gubernatorial primary to succeed him, defeated the contender Trump had endorsed and heavily supported.
Georgia based Republican strategist John Porter told Fox News that it appears Pence, Christie, and Ricketts are “using this opportunity to ride the wave that Brian Kemp has created.”
“I think it’s really just these 2024 guys wanting to be in the tent when the champagne’s popped,” Porter, a former chief of staff to Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan. “These guys want to be around the rim when [Kemp defeats Perdue] “to send a message that Trump can be beaten and they were a part of it.”
And Porter said, “If I was starting to lay the foundation for a presidential campaign and my name is not Donald Trump, I’d be doing the exact same thing.”
Pompeo the latest possible 2024 contender to team up with Laxalt
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Nevada on Friday to team up with the state’s former attorney general, Adam Laxalt, who’s the front-runner for the GOP Senate nomination in the key battleground state.
Pompeo, a former congressman from Kansas who served as CIA director and later America’s top diplomat during former the Trump administration, joined Laxalt at a roundtable event with supporters in Las Vegas. Word of Pompeo’s trip to Nevada was shared first with Fox News last week.
Laxalt, an Iraq war veteran and grandson of the late Nevada governor and senator Paul Laxalt, is the polling and fundraising leader for the GOP Senate nomination in a race that also includes retired Army officer and Afghanistan War veteran Sam Brown. Nevada’s primary is on June 14.
As they work to win back the Senate majority in November’s midterm elections, Republicans see strong pickup potentials in the swing states of Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire and Nevada, where Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is running for a second six-year term.
But Nevada holds the fourth contest in the GOP presidential nominating calendar and Pompeo, a Fox News contributor, became the third potential 2024 GOP White House contender in recent weeks to travel to Nevada to campaign with Laxalt, following Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
DeSantis in South Carolina
DeSantis stopped this weekend in South Carolina, which voted third in the Republican presidential primaries and caucuses, for a fundraiser.
DeSantis set a new monthly fundraising record in April, as he runs for a second four-year term steering Florida. The governor hauled in nearly $10.5 million in April, according to figures shared first with Fox News on Tuesday.
That’s the governor’s best combined monthly fundraising since forming the campaign committee in November of last year. And the April total brings to more than $113 million the amount DeSantis has raised so far this election cycle.
DeSantis has seen his popularity surge among Republican voters in his state and around the nation over the past two years, thanks in large part to his relentless pushback against COVID-19 restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic as well as his aggressive actions in the culture wars.
While DeSantis has repeatedly deflected talk of a potential run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, pundits view him as a possible White House contender.
And the governor’s impressive fundraising prowess and his massive 2022 haul – which comes from some of the biggest and most powerful donors in the GOP as well as from small dollar grassroots contributions not only across Florida but from coast to coast – sends a signal to the rest of the potential 2024 Republican presidential field of DeSantis’ popularity, influence, and strength should he launch a White House campaign.