Despite signing Georgia’s GOP-led restrictive voting rights legislation into law, Gov. Brian Kemp’s (R) reputation among fellow Republicans hangs in the balance following his refusal to do then-President Trump’s bidding of overturning the 2020 presidential election results.
Republican Party officials in two deeply conservative counties in northern Georgia overwhelmingly voted to censure Kemp, citing complaints that the Georgia governor didn’t challenge Trump’s defeat.
Republican officials in Whitfield County, in northwest Georgia, unanimously voted to condemn Kemp because the governor “stood by and did nothing” to overturn the presidential election results.
“Governor Kemp’s inaction angered Republican voters, many of whom refused to vote in the January 5th runoff and Kemp helped cost the Republicans two Senate seats,” read the Whitfield County resolution.
The Whitfield County resolution also took aim at two other Georgia officials who became punching bags of Trump after they refused to go along with his bogus claims of widespread election fraud.
The resolution called on Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s (R) to resign, citing his frequent media appearances that disputed unfounded claims of election fraud by Trump and the Georgia Republican Party.
The Whitfield County GOP similarly voted to censure Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) in light of his refusal to peddle Trump’s falsehoods as well as his refusal to preside over the state Senate amid lawmakers considering a bill that would sharply restrict absentee ballot voting. Earlier this month, Duncan argued in an op-ed published in USA Today that the new Georgia voting law was a direct result of the misinformation campaign led by Trump.
Murray County, also in northern Georgia, adopted a similar resolution that voted to censure Kemp, Raffensperger and Duncan by a nearly unanimous vote.
Although the resolutions simply serve as an official condemnation, Georgia GOP officials told the New York Times that the moves are intended to signal to Kemp and other Republican lawmakers that their terms are on the line because they dared to buck Trump.
“I’d vote for Mickey Mouse before I would Kemp,” Tony Abernathy, chairman of the Murray County Republican Party, told the Times. “I know what I’ve got with Mickey Mouse. A RINO (Republican in Name Only) is useless.”
Debbie Dooley, who helped distribute drafts of the resolutions and urged Trump supporters to attend the local meetings, told the Times that “Republican grass roots are angry” after Republican lawmakers in Georgia took a stand against Trump’s baseless claims.
“These resolutions will let Gov. Kemp, Lt. Gov. Duncan and Secretary of State Raffensperger know we’re going to work against them in the Republican primary next year,” Dooley said, according to the Times.
The censure resolutions against the Georgia state leaders come as Senate Republicans try to navigate how to move the party forward as Trump continues to air his grievances against those who refused to challenge Joe Biden’s electoral victory, which include deriding Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as a “dumb son of a bitch” during the RNC’s spring donor retreat last weekend for not opposing the election results. A new Politico report out this week reveals that Senate GOPers want to push Trump and McConnell to come to a truce as part of their effort to win back the majority in the Senate in 2022.