Republicans and aides surrounding both Donald Trump and Herschel Walker’s campaigns apparently don’t want the former president touching Georgia’s runoff Senate race with a 10-foot pole.
Both campaigns reportedly decided that Trump’s presence in the state might do more harm than good and have settled on Trump conducting a phone call with supporters ahead of the runoff election instead of doing a rally for Walker, the New York Times reported Monday. Trump will also continue to toss his online fundraising weight into the race. Both campaigns feared that while Trump’s presence in the state might get his core base amped up to support Walker, it could also energize more Democratic and moderate Republican voters to head to the polls in support Walker’s rival, incumbent Sen. Ralph Warnock (D-GA).
Trump has been winking at a possible trip to Georgia to boost Walker for the last few weeks and even mentioned his support for the Republican Senate candidate in his speech in Florida earlier this month announcing his 2024 plans.
As the Times noted, Trump’s presence in Georgia hasn’t been beneficial for the party the last few years. Trump lost the state in 2020 and both of the big liar guys he picked to make the Georgia midterms about his various grievances — David Perdue and Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) — weren’t able to defeat incumbents Gov. Brian Kemp or Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the primaries. In general, much of Trump’s involvement in the midterms was bad news for Republicans, who just barely took control of the House and didn’t manage to seize control of the Senate. Many in the party blame Trump for backing bad, unelectable candidates and for effectively making the party’s midterms messaging centered on his claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
And if runoff history is any factor, keeping Trump at arm’s length is a fair calculation for the Walker campaign to make. The Republican Party generally blames Trump and his fearmongering about a stolen election — with a specific focus on decrying the integrity of the voting systems in Georgia — in the weeks ahead of the January 2021 runoff for the party’s losses in the state, and Democrats’ ability to take the Senate that year.
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