Some Republicans want former President Donald Trump to stay as far away from Georgia as possible until after the December 6 Senate runoff in the Peach State.
As the GOP’s hopes for Senate control increasingly look like they will hinge on the outcome of a Georgia runoff between Republican Herschel Walker and incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), party strategists fear Trump is getting himself in the race Get involved and Republicans will drive voters away from the polls and walkers.
“Hopefully Trump stays out of the running as much as possible,” a Republican adviser told The Hill.
“If that means delaying his campaign for the White House, that would be a smart move, not only for Republicans’ chances in Georgia, but also for Trump’s hopes of winning the presidential nomination,” the aide added.
Trump has endorsed Walker’s candidacy in Georgia, but he hasn’t put his money exactly where it belongs, according to an analysis of campaign finance records.
According to the Daily Wire, the former president’s super-PAC spent $3.4 million supporting Walker in the general election, or less than 5% of the $72 million that outside groups spent trying to support Walker to bring choice. In contrast, Trump’s Save America PAC spent $4.4 million to attack another Republican, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, in the primary.
“When you talk to Georgia election strategists, they think Trump Walker was a huge liability in suburban Atlanta and there’s just no reason to risk repeating that,” the GOP adviser told The Hill. “If Trump injects himself into the race somehow and Walker comes up short, that’s really bad for Trump too.”
Republicans are concerned about a 2021 repeat in Georgia, when David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler lost the Senate runoff to Sen. Jon Ossoff and Warnock, respectively.
Trump led a rally in Georgia a day before the 2021 election and claimed the 2020 presidential election, which he lost to Joe Biden, was “rigged” and full of fraud. Far fewer Republicans voted in the runoff than in the general election, leading many to believe that pro-Trump voters boycotted the election.
“Important advice to Republicans regarding Georgia runoff: Trump must remember NOT to order Walker supporters to boycott the vote!” Conservative commentator Ann Coulter wrote in a tweet on Wednesday, referring to the runoff debacle of the GOP in 2021 in Georgia.
It doesn’t seem likely that Trump will hold off until after December 6th. The former president issued a press release on Thursday, noting that his Nov. 15 “special announcement,” which is expected to be the start of his 2024 presidential campaign, is moving forward as planned, despite a request from a top aide Jason Miller to wait.
“But if he comes out in five days and announces his presidential candidacy, that’s not going to be good for us,” the GOP adviser told The Hill.
“He doesn’t know how to do anything but make things about him,” the aide complained.