Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who refused to go along with then-President Trump’s demand to overturn the election results, will face off against Democrat-turned-Trump-supporter Vernon Jones in next year’s Republican primary.
Jones has echoed Trump’s bogus claims of a “stolen” election in the battleground state, calling Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results “fixed” and tainted.”
On Thursday, Jones tweeted that he would formally announce his candidacy for Georgia governor the next day.
The time has come. Georgia is ready! pic.twitter.com/ClIcnF6JtI
— Vernon Jones (@RepVernonJones) April 15, 2021
Although Trump has yet to endorse a primary challenger against Kemp, the former president vowed to tank the Georgia governor’s bid for a second term by campaigning against him, following Kemp’s refusal to do his bidding of overturning Joe Biden’s victory in the battleground state.
Jones, who previously served as a state representative and head of government in DeKalb County, appears eager to highlight the rift between Kemp and Trump after the 2020 presidential election.
Last month, when exploring his bid for Georgia governor, Jones pinned the blame on Kemp for Trump’s loss.
I’m looking closely at Georgia’s race for Governor.
If it weren’t for Brian Kemp, Donald Trump would still be President of these United States.
We need courageous conservatives leading our state, not those afraid to stand up to the Radical Left.
— Vernon Jones (@RepVernonJones) March 22, 2021
Jones has a controversial history in Georgia politics, which include scandals such as allegations of rape that Jones denied and was never charged with, accusations of exorbitant spending on his security detail, and a lawsuit that alleges he tried to replace white managers of the county parks department with Black one.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, a special grand jury investigating corruption in DeKalb County government had found “incompetence, patronage, fraud and cronyism,” and recommended investigations of Jones and other county officials. Prosecutors found no evidence of corruption by Jones.
Jones, a longtime Democrat, announced his switch to the Republican Party just hours before the deadly Capitol insurrection that Trump incited.
Jones’ expected announcement of his challenge against Kemp comes on the heels of the Georgia governor’s unsuccessful attempt at getting back into Trump’s good graces after refusing to overturn Biden’s legitimate victory in the battleground state.
Appearing on Fox News last month, Kemp said he would “absolutely” back a Trump 2024 presidential run. But the former president has kept up his grudge against Kemp since then. During Trump’s appearance at the RNC’s spring donor event last weekend, the former president bashed the Georgia governor as he rambled on about Republicans who dared to buck him, which also included deriding Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as a “dumb son of a bitch” for not opposing the election results.
And despite signing Georgia’s GOP-led restrictive voting rights legislation into law, Kemp was censured by Republican Party officials in two deeply conservative counties in northern Georgia in light of the Georgia governor’s refusal to challenge Trump’s defeat.