Kemp booed at Georgia’s GOP convention as Trump-supporting challengers eye primary fight

Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp was roundly booed as he took the stage Saturday evening at his state’s Republican convention, most of which came from supporters of former President Donald Trump, according to press pool reports.

[email protected] greeted at the Ga GOP convention with loud boos. He was speaking for about 30 seconds before it was quiet enough to hear him from the press area,” tweeted Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Maya Prabhu, along with a video showing the booing.

She added: “But he got his first full applause when he mentioned Georgia being the first state to reopen during the pandemic.”

Kemp, who is running for reelection next year, was publicly assailed by then-President Trump following his reported loss to President Joe Biden, at one point urging Kemp to “overrule” GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and order a manual signature match of mail-in ballots.

“Why won’t [Gov. Brian Kemp], the hapless Governor of Georgia, use his emergency powers, which can be easily done, to overrule his obstinate Secretary of State, and do a match of signatures on envelopes. It will be a ‘goldmine’ of fraud, and we will easily WIN the state,” Trump tweeted in late November.

Specifically, Trump was railing against a consent decree signed by Raffensperger and several left-wing organizations months ahead of the Nov. 3 election to settle a lawsuit that took umbrage with the signature matching requirement. Trump said that the decree was signed with Kemp’s approval and at the “urging” of his 2018 Democratic gubernatorial challenger Stacey Abrams, adding in another tweet that the change “makes it impossible to check [and] match signatures on ballots and envelopes, etc.”

On Election Night, Trump was leading Biden in the state but was overtaken by a late-night ballot dump similar to those that occurred in other battleground states where he was also leading. Trump’s legal team filed an appeal with Georgia election officials, pointing to surveillance video from a ballot counting center in Atlanta that appeared to show an elections supervisor ordering most counters to go home around 10:30 p.m. while she and a few others remained behind to continue counting — without poll watchers or media. At one point, the few who stayed behind looked to be removing containers of ballots that were hidden underneath tables in the room.

As for Kemp, he will be opposed in the GOP primary by former state Rep. Vernon Jones, a one-time Democrat-turned-Republican and a strong supporter of the former president.

Jones shared the video of Kemp being booed on Twitter.

“Today, Georgia Republicans made their voices resoundingly clear. Change is coming,” he wrote.

Previously, Jones has said that “if it weren’t for Brian Kemp, Donald Trump would still be President of these United States.”

Other Georgia elected Republicans have criticized Trump, including Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan. In March he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Trump’s guidance of the GOP demonstrated a lack of  “leadership.”

“I think there’s millions of Republicans waking up around the country that are realizing that Donald Trump’s divisive tone and strategy is unwinnable in forward-looking elections,” he said. “We need real leadership. We need new focus.”

Nevertheless, Trump has vowed to remain active in Georgia politics, having already endorsed U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, who is running against Raffensperger.

Jon Dougherty

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