GOP governor’s race just got tighter


Republican gubernatorial candidate Vernon Jones, a Donald Trump loyalist who’d been polling at around 10 percent, announced earlier this week that he was dropping out of the race and instead will run for Congress.

Jones previously had spent months crisscrossing the state and actively seeking Trump’s endorsement for governor. That endorsement ultimately went to David Perdue, however. Trump’s decision apparently didn’t hurt Jones’ feelings too bad, though, as Jones continues to align himself with Trump and praise the former president, who has now given Jones “a complete and total endorsement” for the District 10 Congressional race.

A recent poll from the venerable Quinnipiac University polling service previously offered plenty of new context and perspective leading up to the May 24 Republican primary for Governor. The Quinnipiac poll had Gov. Brian Kemp at 43 percent among the 666 “likely Republican voters” who responded to the poll, Perdue at 36 percent, Jones at 10 percent and Kandiss Taylor at 4 percent.

Perdue, Jones and Taylor are all Trump enthusiasts, and the overwhelming majority of Jones supporters now will likely turn their support toward Perdue.

All candidates for public office in the May 24 primary must receive a majority of the vote, regardless of how slim, to avoid a runoff. Many veteran political pundits around Georgia would tell you that a Republican runoff would only benefit Stacey Abrams, the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor. Runoffs typically lead to dirty politics, and a runoff inevitably would lead to some resentment from supporters of the runoff loser. Whether that resentment would be enough to sit out the November general election and theoretically increase the Democrat’s voter share, however, is to be determined.

The recent Quinnipiac poll actually included the Trump factor. According to the poll's results: “Former President Donald Trump has endorsed both Herschel Walker and David Perdue in the Republican primary races. Half (50 percent) of likely Republican primary voters say if Trump endorses a candidate, it does not make a difference to them, 44 percent say they are more likely to vote for that candidate, and 5 percent say they are less likely to vote for that candidate.

The same Quinnipiac poll recorded Kemp's approval rating as governor, among all respondents, at 42 percent and his disapproval rating at 49 percent.

Among registered Republicans polled in the survey, "inflation" was the most "urgent issue" at 34 percent, followed by "election laws" at 18 percent and "crime.”

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