But there will be a lot of pressure on both men to kiss and make up in order to provide party unity in the general-election struggle ahead. David Perdue, for his part, endorsed Kemp in his concession speech, citing the importance of making common cause to defeat Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams.
It will be a common sentiment among Republicans, who tend to think of Abrams as sort of a combination of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama; they both loath and grudgingly respect the skills that made her in 2018 the most successful Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 20 years. And Abrams and Kemp have their own grudge match going; it ties back to Abrams’s efforts to register low-income and minority voters and Kemp’s efforts as secretary of State to stop her. Perhaps the deadliest insult Trump has ever fired at Kemp was his suggestion last autumn that Abrams might be a better governor than her 2018 opponent.
In weighing whether to swallow his towering pride and put on the party harness, Trump must acknowledge that his Senate candidate Walker’s fate in taking on incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock is tied to Kemp’s. And if the ex-president cares at all about his image in what will likely be a key 2024 battleground state, he must keep in mind the blame so many Georgia Republicans quietly assign to him for the loss of two U.S. Senate seats that gave Democrats a governing trifecta.