Still, the current GOP civil war in Georgia is hardly a shocking sight to party veterans who’ve seen many intraparty struggles come and go. “There’s nothing Georgia Republicans love more than a fight,” said Rusty Paul, a former chair of the state GOP. “Especially if it’s with a fellow Republican.”

But many find it hard to downplay the toxicity of this fight—and the fact that a changing Georgia has made the price of such fighting higher than ever, for the January runoffs and for 2022. “You should have done something’… that’s the mindset people have right now,” said Paul. “That [Kemp] should have been more engaged. That’s a tough position to be in. That’s the same tough position that Perdue and Loeffler find themselves in.”

“Georgia is such a competitive state right now that simply winning the primary isn’t enough anymore,” continued Paul. “You’ve gotta have your eyes focused on the general election. You can’t go out and primary the governor and take him down, or the secretary of state or another incumbent, and just assume… that you’re going to be successful in the general election.”