Gov Kemp says he’d ‘absolutely’ back Trump 2024, but hesitant on Ga. GOP’s voting reform measures

Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday he “absolutely” would back Donald Trump if he became the party’s 2024 nominee, despite attacks the former president has leveled at him in recent months.

During a segment with Fox News host Neil Cavuto, in which the host asked about Trump’s criticism of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other GOP leaders, Kemp pivoted and noted that he, like many other Republicans, was disappointed in the outcome of the presidential race.

He also suggested that “many people got distracted” during the two Jan. 4 run-off elections for Senate, in which both Democrats won after “a lot of Republicans stayed home” and did not vote, and that he “worked very hard” to get Trump elected while offering praise for many of Trump’s policies.

“He did tremendous things with COVID to help our state, him and the vice president both. This vaccine…is a direct result of that,” Kemp said. “I think the president should get a lot of credit for that and he, quite honestly, has not.”

(Source: Fox News)

Kemp also said that Republicans did well in his state during the Nov. 3 elections, but that many questions have arisen about alleged voting irregularities, “and we’re working with the General Assembly to address that.”

Cavuto then asked Kemp directly if he planned on supporting Trump, who criticized the governor many times after the election, if he becomes the GOP’s 2024 nominee.

“Absolutely,” Kemp responded. “I’m going to support the nominee, as I said again, I worked very hard for the president. Republicans need to have a big tent, we’re not always gonna get along. But I think the president deserves a lot of credit and he’s not going away.”

Still, Kemp’s embrace of Trump and pledge to address complaints about voting irregularities appear to conflict with his ambivalence over a state GOP-backed ballot reform measure aimed at reversing, among other things, voting rule changes he and Georgia election officials authorized ahead of the 2020 election. 

Trump railed against the rule changes, which included a relaxation of mail-in ballot verification standards, and blamed them for his loss in Georgia. Others have said the alterations so outraged and frustrated Republican voters that is what led them to stay at home during the run-offs and hand Democrats operational control over the Senate.

On Monday, the GOP-controlled Georgia House passed an omnibus voting reform measure that addresses many of the issues, but Kemp expressed some uncertainty over whether he would sign it.

“There’s tons of things floating around right now. I think we probably have over 100 bills that House members and Senate members have introduced,” he told the Hugh Hewitt Show. “I’m certainly very supportive of putting the photo ID requirement on absentee ballots by mail and other things, making sure that there’s a fair process, and that that process can be observed and that those observers are close enough to the process to actually see it.”

 (Relevant portion begins at about 8:34 mark)

(Source: Hugh Hewitt/YouTube)

“I’ve heard a lot of complaints from people and I know why folks are frustrated. I’ve always had an answer. We need to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” he added. “There’s a lot of proposals out there right now; the House passed one today. But we still got a little ways to go through the process.”

Hewitt asked Kemp if he planned on signing any reform measure that reaches him.

“Well, it depends on what it is and what’s in it. I mean, there’s so many proposals that some of them compete against each other,” he responded. “So I wouldn’t say that I would sign every single one of them but I’m very supportive and we’ve had great conversations with the speaker of the House, the lieutenant governor, the legislative leadership, and individual members about really some good ideas to further secure the vote. 

“I mean, I don’t know who could be against that,” he added.

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Jon Dougherty

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