Two current and one former Republican governor will campaign for Gov. Brian Kemp in Georgia ahead of the state’s primary later this month, which has turned into a proxy fight between the establishment and Donald Trump wings of the GOP.
The governors – Pete Ricketts of Nebraska and Doug Ducey of Arizona – as well as former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, will crisscross the state supporting Kemp in his primary challenge against former US Sen. David Perdue, a source familiar with the plans tells CNN.
Perdue, who is endorsed by Trump, has made lies about the 2020 election results in Georgia a centerpiece of his bid to defeat the incumbent Republican governor. Trump has repeatedly criticized Kemp over his decision to certify Georgia’s 2020 election results and has made the governor a top target, directing half a million dollars from his political organization to an anti-Kemp super PAC.
Despite the barrage of attacks, Kemp has maintained an advantage in the polls.
Ricketts and Ducey currently serve as co-chairs of the Republican Governors Association, which has poured money into the race to support Kemp, including a large TV ad buy in the state.
Ricketts, Ducey and Christie all have clashed at times with Trump. In Nebraska, Ricketts, who is term-limited from seeking reelection, asked Trump not to wade into the Republican gubernatorial primary. Trump rejected this request, endorsing Charles Herbster, a wealthy businessman facing a slew of sexual misconduct allegations, which he has denied. Ricketts backed Jim Pillen, a member of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, who won Tuesday’s GOP gubernatorial primary in the Cornhusker State.
In January, Trump said he would “never” endorse Ducey if he ran for US Senate in Arizona after criticizing the Republican governor for certifying the state’s election in 2020.
Christie has spent the last several months speaking out against Trump, for whom Christie served as an adviser and helped prepare for the 2020 election debates. The former New Jersey governor has criticized Trump for his claims that the election was stolen, and blamed Trump’s lies about the election results for the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6.