PERRY, Georgia — If Republicans hope to return the Peach State back to the GOP column in 2022 and beyond, Saturday’s appearance by former President Donald Trump at the Georgia National Fairgrounds was a hopeful sign.
An estimated 20,000 people attended Saturday’s Trump rally in central Georgia’s Houston County.
The event fell on the fourth week of college football season during a slate of SEC football games that included the University of Georgia facing Vanderbilt. But that did not deter people from making the trek eight months after an election cycle that led to the state going for a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time since 1980 and giving up two U.S. Senate seats to Democrat candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
The former president’s remarks included criticisms of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to a gathering heavily in favor of auditing the 2020 elections, attacks on the Biden administration for mishandling the Afghanistan withdrawal and immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, and an appearance by U.S. Marine Lcpl. Hunter Clark, who was seen pulling an Afghan infant over the Kabul airport wall.
Trump also left 13 VIP seats in the front row open to honor the 13 service members killed in the Kabul terror attack in August.
Featured prominently at the event were Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Herschel Walker, Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), a candidate challenging Raffensperger for Georgia’s secretary of state post and State Sen. Burt Jones (R), a candidate for the Peach State’s lieutenant governor’s spot.
The Perry, GA event was Trump’s sixth stop in Georgia since Trump’s 2016 presidential election win and the first since Georgia’s U.S. Senate special elections earlier this year.
In 2016, Trump won Georgia by five percentage points, roughly 200,000 votes, over then-Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton. In 2020, Trump lost the state by two-tenths of a percentage point, approximately 12,000 votes, to Joe Biden despite having nearly 373,000 more votes in 2020 in Georgia than he had in 2016.
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