Pence stumps for Georgia GOP Gov. Kemp's reelection as Trump backs challenger Perdue

Trump is backing former Sen. David Perdue
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Pence
Former Vice President Pence on November 30, 2021
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former Vice President Mike Pence will join incumbent Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp on the campaign trail ahead of the state's May 24 primary – marking another 2022 midterm race in which a top member of the Trump administration is not supporting a candidate endorsed by the former president.

"Brian Kemp is one of the most successful conservative governors in America," recently said Pence, who since leaving the White House has essentially parted ways with former President Trump. "He built a safer and stronger Georgia by cutting taxes, empowering parents and investing in teachers, funding law enforcement, and standing strong for the right to life."

Pence, a former Indiana congressman and Indiana governor, has been making campaign stops around the country for roughly the past 18 months on behalf of Republican candidates. 

In recent months, several members of the former vice president's staff have hopped aboard the Kemp campaign, including most recently top Pence adviser Marc Short.

In the hotly contested Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary, Trump has endorse Dr. Mehmet Oz. Last week, Trump administration Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized Oz over his Turkish citizenship, accusing him of having ties to the Turkish government.

Though Pompeo has not officially endorsed a candidate in that race, he said close rival David McCormick is a "patriot."

Pence has also called Kemp "my friend, a man dedicated to faith, family and the people of Georgia," and said, "I am proud to offer my full support for four more years of Brian Kemp as governor of the great state of Georgia."

In response, Kemp said that Pence's "leadership was instrumental in creating the most prosperous economy in American history, including here in Georgia, and his commitment to building a safer, stronger America represents the highest ideals of our party."

Kemp has a double-digit lead over Trump-backed former Sen. David Perdue.

Kemp's relationship with former President Trump turned bitter following the 2020 presidential election, which Trump encouraged Kemp not to certify in his state. 

In 2018, Kemp defeated Stacey Abrams with the help of Trump.

This time, Kemp will likely face off against Abrams, who has spent the last four years building a voting rights apparatus in the state of Georgia and beyond that will make her a formidable rival in the fall.