(Mark Pellin, Headline USA) Former President Donald Trump ran off a string of heavyweight endorsement wins with Tuesday’s primaries, but his kingmaker status in the GOP could face a hurdle in Georgia, where former President George W. Bush is now overtly backing Gov. Brian Kemp.
Trump has a heightened vested interest in seeing his endorsed candidate, former GOP Sen. David Perdue, come out with a win. Kemp incurred Trump’s wrath and loathing when, as governor, he certified the dubious results of Georgia’s 2020 presidential election.
After having backed Perdue with a vengeance, a primary loss might be pounced on by never-Trumpers as a sign that the former president’s influence over the GOP is waning.
Which is where the other former president, George W., who has an acrimonious and contentious familial history with Trump, comes into play.
Bush is set to appear as the “special guest” at a swank fundraiser for Kemp, which will put the governor “in front of an influential room of Texas donors just days before the Georgia primary on May 24,” reported Politico.
The list of old-guard establishment swamp dwellers attending the event include “Jim Francis, a major Texas bundler; Republican strategist Karl Rove; and Ross Perot, Jr., son of the former presidential candidate.”
Not exactly a MAGA gathering, and that’s almost certainly by design.
Bush inserting himself into the already-contentious race can be seen as a clear attempt to specifically take out a Trumped-backed candidate and squelch a Trump primary wave that would help further cement his clout in the GOP.
With or without Bush’s involvement, Trump has faced an uphill battle with his recruitment and endorsement of Perdue, who has polled poorly from the launch of his campaign, with some bursts coming on Trump’s endorsement and his two trips to Georgia to rally for Perdue.
Trump has responded in usual fashion, doubling-down his efforts, planning a possible return trip to Georgia for another in-person rally and, most recently, hosting a tele-rally for Perdue, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
There hasn’t been any report of George W. planning to man a cellphone bank telethon for Kemp, but it’s still early days and the competitive animus with Trump runs deep.