COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The news of former U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s challenging Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in the Republican gubernatorial primary to starting to sink in.
And it could be a harsh reality for the Georgia GOP. And grassroots Republicans are starting to brace for it.
But it’s Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan who puts the puts it in perspective. Duncan was a professional baseball player long before he became a politician.
And here’s how he describes the Kemp-Perdue primary.
“The Braves playing the Mets, and it would be like the Braves in a fistfight in the locker room or the dugout right before the first pitch is thrown, right?” Duncan said. “That would be what I equate this to. You are showing the whole stadium, you are showing the other team you can’t be on the same page.”
And it comes with fallout.
“And, it’s brutal. It gives the other side more energy,” Duncan said. “And you got the other teammates who are confused as to which side to take.”
Just ask Muscogee County Republican Party chairman Alton Russell where he stands on Perdue-Kemp.
“I can’t tell you that,” Russell said. “I am not going to take a position on that. That would get me in trouble.”
Russell is like a lot of grassroots Republicans. They have been key players on Team Kemp and Team Perdue.
“I like Brian Kemp. And I also have a lot of respect for David Perdue,” Russell said. “So, it’s going to be a tough primary for Georgia.”
Joseph Brannan is a Columbus Republican who serves as the treasurer for the Georgia Republican Party. And he walks the party line by turning it on the assumed Democratic challenger.
“I support our Gov. Brian Kemp. And I am also thankful for the service of David Perdue,” Brannan said. “And I think either candidate is head and shoulders above what is being offered by the Democrats and Stacey Abrams socialist agenda for Georgia.”
Kemp-Perdue primary highlights divide among Georgia Republicans
But Duncan says it is a complicating factor as the Republicans select an opponent for Abrams.
“There is a synthetic friction between the state House and the state Senate,” he said. “It’s like these made-up fights that feel like two brothers. This is one of those synthetic friction moments. Right?”
And Duncan, who is not seeking re-election, makes his point this way.
“If you line up all the people, Day 1, say they support Gov. Kemp, and all the Republicans that say they support David Perdue,” he said; “And you line them up and let’s take a test on where you stand on the policies. Almost everybody agrees. Right? That should be the hardest thing we have to accomplish as Republicans. Is getting everybody on the same page as the policies.”
But the underlying rub is former President Donald Trump. Perdue is backed by the Trump. Kemp because he followed Georgia law in the wake of the 2020 election is in Trump’s political crosshairs. Duncan has not been shy about taking on Trump and positioning himself for a post-Trump Republican Party.
“It’s the one issue to divide,” he said. “And that’s exactly what’s happening. It’s dividing good people, good Republicans, good conservatives.”