Tensions Rise As GOP Fights Internally Over Georgia Senate Appointment

November 22, 2019

With Republicans in Washington and Georgia left arguing over who should hold a vulnerable Senate seat, tension between Trump and Kemp continues to escalate

Atlanta — With Governor* Brian Kemp coming under new pressure on his Senate appointment pick following recent election results spelling “2020 trouble for Republicans,” tensions are rising between President Donald Trump, Washington Republicans and Kemp over who Georgia’s next vulnerable Senate incumbent should be.

The Wall Street Journal this morning reported that Trump has tried to pressure Kemp into choosing his favored pick Congressman Doug Collins multiple times, even as a Georgia Republican strategist reveals that, “Doug Collins isn’t one of the governor’s top choices.”

Yet as the AJC’s Greg Bluestein also wrote, Trump and his allies incessantly lobbying for Collins is just escalating tensions — and could result in a backlash:

“The pressure seems likely to backfire. Kemp is a staunch Trump supporter who is mindful that the president’s endorsement helped him defeat a well-financed rival last year. But he also bristles at the outside pressure…”

Now, with tension between Trump and Kemp higher than ever, Georgia Republicans could be facing a no-win scenario with their party’s governor and president fighting over a vulnerable Senate seat, putting whoever Kemp chooses at a disadvantage heading into next November. 

And just to make things worse for Georgia Republicans: if Collins doesn’t get his way, he’s already threatening to run anyway — a situation that “would not only challenge the governor’s political clout, it could also risk a divisive 2020 battle at a time when Republicans can ill afford discord.”

“No matter who Governor Kemp chooses to appoint to the Senate, it’s clear that his choice is bound to come with plenty of tension and internal division at a time when Georgia Republicans can least afford it,” said Alex Floyd, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Georgia. “With tensions already rising between President Trump and Governor Kemp, Georgia Republicans are looking more and more vulnerable ahead of 2020 as the Senate appointment process continues to backfire and spiral out of control.”

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