Gaetz Threatens Kemp With Primary, Should He Defy Trump’s Wishes

Flanked by about two dozen House Republicans, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks during a press conference on October 23, 2019. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
November 29, 2019 2:50 p.m.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), one of President Donald Trump’s most vocal acolytes, threatened Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) with a primary challenger in 2022 should he not select Trump’s preferred candidate for a soon-to-be-open Senate seat.

It is not clear from where Gaetz, a congressman from Florida, gets the authority to threaten the Georgia governor with a primary.

Kemp wants to pick businesswoman Kelly Loeffler to replace Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who is retiring at the end of the year. According to Politico, Kemp thinks that Loeffler can help staunch the flow of suburban voters fleeing the party.

Trump, and by extension, Gaetz, wants Kemp to pick Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) instead, a much more diehard MAGA type.

Kemp is also taking heat from pro-lifers angry that Loeffler served on the board of directors for Grady Memorial Hospital, the biggest in the state. Though the hospital does not perform elective surgeries, Loeffler’s detractors object to the fact that some doctors associated with the hospital perform them.

Per Politico, Kemp tried to sell Trump on Loeffler during a quiet White House meeting over the weekend. The President reportedly brought up many objections, including that the first-time candidate would be a riskier option than more seasoned politicians in the state.

Per his tweet, Kemp will make his decision after the holiday.

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