If I told you on Election Day in 2020 that Donald Trump would lose Georgia, Democrats would win both of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats, and then win another Senate race in 2022 — you might have rushed me to a local hospital for an emergency checkup.
But that’s what happened. And it still seems shocking, especially when cast against the strength of the Georgia GOP in this year’s statewide races.
There is no other state in the Union where voters have repeatedly stood up to former President Donald Trump more than Georgia — and this week’s loss by Herschel Walker was just one more piece of that resistance.
The blame though doesn’t rest entirely on the shoulders of Trump.
This is also a story of a number of prominent Georgia Republicans who jumped on Trump’s bandwagon of never-ending false claims of vote fraud in the state — and misread how the voters of Georgia would react.
When U.S. Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler called for the resignation of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger soon after the 2020 election — as Trump was making wild, unsupported claims of vote fraud — the two Georgia Senators tied themselves directly to Trump and started writing their own political obituaries.
Perdue and Loeffler would both lose their Senate runoffs.
That loss wasn’t enough for Perdue. At the behest of Trump, Perdue in 2022 ran one of the worst GOP primary campaigns that you may see in your life — making Trump’s false election claims the centerpiece of attacks on Gov. Brian Kemp.
Perdue didn’t just lose that 2022 GOP primary — Kemp drubbed him by over 50 points, as Georgia voters sent a very clear message to Trump.
Like Perdue, U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro, never had any evidence to back up his Trumpian claims of election irregularities in Georgia, but he used those claims to anchor his 2022 GOP primary challenge to Raffensperger.
Raffensperger beat Hice by 19 points — in yet another loss for Trump.
While Walker steered clear of Trump’s 2020 election claims on the campaign trail, the UGA football star was one of four weak candidates for Senate backed by Trump this year — in Arizona, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. All of them went down to defeat, as Republicans blew a chance to take full control of Congress.
“Georgia may be remembered as the state that broke Trump once and for all,” said Scott Jennings a former aide and adviser to U.S. Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell.
It didn’t have to be that way. But Donald Trump evidently still hasn’t heard the message delivered by Georgia voters.
Jamie Dupree has covered national politics and Congress from Washington, D.C. since the Reagan administration. His column appears weekly in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. For more, check out his Capitol Hill newsletter at http://jamiedupree.substack.com
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