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Kemp Campaigns for Walker in Runoff

(Headline USA) Fresh off his commanding reelection, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Saturday campaigned for the first time alongside Senate hopeful Herschel Walker.

The joint appearance reflects how important Kemp’s broad coalition will be in determining whether Walker can unseat Sen. Raphael Warnock in a Dec. 6 runoff.

“We cannot rest on our laurels, everyone,” Kemp told supporters standing in the parking lot of a gun store in suburban Atlanta, urging them to cast one more ballot in the 2022 election.

Kemp was the top vote-getter in Georgia’s general election, drawing 200,000 more votes in his matchup with Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams than Walker did in his challenge to Warnock. The result: Kemp defeated Abrams by 7.5 percentage points.

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The governor campaigned throughout the fall mostly for his own reelection, though he made appearances with several GOP nominees for lower statewide offices.  Kemp would often say only that he backed the “entire ticket.”

Since securing a second term, Kemp has signed over his voter turnout operation to a Republican political action committee aligned with Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and endorsed Walker anew in recent interviews. On Saturday, he pitched Walker as a fiscal and cultural conservative who would back tax cuts and support law enforcement and the military, and he repeated Republicans’ principal attack on Warnock: That he votes with President Joe Biden “96% of the time.”

“I know that Herschel Walker will fight for us,” Kemp said. “He will go and fight for those values that we believe in here in our state.”

Yet Kemp also used his brief time on stage as a personal victory lap, nodding to his coming second term and mentioning Abrams before he said anything about Walker or Warnock. “I’ve never been more optimistic about the future of our state, and we’re going to keep our state moving in the right direction because we stopped Stacey and saved Georgia,” he said.

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Republicans see Kemp as a critical validator for Walker, especially since the Georgia runoff is now more locally focused because Democrats already have secured 50 seats and hold Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote.

For much of the year, Walker and Republicans tried to nationalize the race because it was among the battlegrounds that would determine Senate control, as Georgia did two years ago with concurrent Senate runoffs won by Democrats Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossoff.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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