Trump’s backing of candidate gives former senator nice edge over Gov. Brian Kemp in new survey

Former U.S. Sen. David Perdue would likely sail to victory in a race against current GOP Gov. Brian Kemp in Georgia if the election were held today, thanks to backing from former President Donald Trump.

That’s according to insider polling data obtained by the Washington Examiner, which pits the two candidates against each other in a hypothetical GOP gubernatorial match-up.

The survey was conducted on behalf of GOP operatives who wanted to know where things stand in Georgia for the party moving forward after losing both U.S. Senate seats, including Perdue’s, last year — losses that handed Democrats control of the upper chamber.

In a straight-up contest, Kemp bests Perdue by a margin of 38-32 percent, with 16 percent of respondents backing Democrat-turned-Republican candidate Vernon Jones.

However, the survey found that if Trump were to endorse Perdue over Kemp, the former GOP senator lept ahead of the current governor by a healthy margin – 41-34 percent, with support for Jones falling to just 11 percent. And in a straight-up contest between Kemp and Perdue, the latter wins 50-41 percent, according to the Examiner.

“This survey is sure to increase speculation that Perdue is leaning toward challenging Kemp in the 2022 Republican gubernatorial primary,” the outlet reported. “His entering the race would be a boon for Trump, who is attempting to recruit a prominent Republican to run against Kemp.”

Trump has blamed Kemp for his loss in the Peach State after claiming — without any evidence — that the election was stolen from him there and that the state’s leading Republicans, including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, simply allowed it to take place.

In terms of a gubernatorial candidacy, Perdue on Wednesday leaned into a contest against Kemp, telling a Georgia radio show that he also believes the governor is responsible for the loss of Georgia to President Joe Biden.

“A lot of people feel … that people in power haven’t fought for them and caved into a lot of things back in 2020 that didn’t have to be done,” Perdue, who has said he won’t run again for the U.S. Senate, told WDUN. But he did not get into his plans for 2022.

The survey, which was conducted by a GOP pollster for Republicans who are trying to gauge the political status in Georgia, sought responses from 600 likely Republican voters. Among its additional findings:

— Trump is well-liked in Georgia. The poll found that his favorability/unfavorability rating is 84%/10%. Perdue is also popular; his rating is 79%/9%. Kemp meanwhile, is the lowest-ranked of the three at 68%/22%.

— Meanwhile, more than three-quarters (78 percent) of GOP voters in Georgia believe that “significant fraud occurred in the 2020 election.” Only 31 percent “believe Kemp did enough to prevent voter fraud in the election.”

— Just one-third, or 33 percent, said they would vote for Kemp regardless of which Republican ran against him.

— In the GOP Senate primary, former NFL pro Herschel Walker, whose candidacy has already gotten Trump’s blessing, is ahead of Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black by an astounding figure: 72 percent to 5 percent.

During last year’s November elections, Perdue actually defeated now-Sen. Jon Ossoff (D), but he fell just short of the necessary 50 percent threshold to avoid the Jan. 5 run-off, which he wound up losing by a narrow margin.

Critics blamed Trump for suppressing the Georgia Republican turnout with his constant claims of fraud.

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Jon Dougherty

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