Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has turned his efforts toward boosting Republican Herschel Walker in the contentious U.S. Senate runoff battle in Georgia.
The popular governor, fresh off a decisive victory over Democrat Stacey Abrams, is now urging Georgians to turn out for Walker as he seeks to unseat incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) on December 6.
Democrats have secured 50 seats for next year, enough to give them majority power given Vice President Kamala Harris would cast tiebreaking votes. However if Walker wins and Republicans gain 50 seats, Democrats would be forced into power-sharing agreements with Republicans and also need perfect attendance and agreement to pass pivotal votes.
“We need Herschel to win. We need to get that seat back, bring some sanity in Washington, DC,” Kemp said in a recent interview with Fox News. “I think voters are going to have to ask the question that I ask myself, ‘Do you want to vote for somebody that’s voted with Joe Biden 96 percent of the time or do you want to have a voice that’s going to go to Washington, DC?’”
Kemp appeared at a rally with Walker on Saturday in Cobb County, a populous county in Metro Atlanta, encouraging voters to “send number 34 to the United States Senate,” a reference to Walker’s now-retired jersey number he wore in his days as a University of Georgia football star.
Great to have @BrianKempGA and @GAFirstLady join Julie and I today with a great crowd in Smyrna! The people are ready to evict Raphael Warnock on December 6th! #gasen #gapol #gasenrunoff pic.twitter.com/YqJzd13WC7
— Herschel Walker (@HerschelWalker) November 19, 2022
Ads featuring Kemp are also flooding the state.
The Senate Leadership Fund, which has plans to spend more than $14 million advertising for the runoff, has an ad airing beginning Thanksgiving Day of Kemp saying Walker “will vote for Georgia, not be another rubberstamp for Joe Biden. That’s why I’m backing Herschel, and I hope you’ll join me in voting for him too.”
NEW: "Washington won't change unless we make them."
— Senate Leadership Fund (@Senate_Fund) November 23, 2022
The Senate Leadership Fund, a fundraising juggernaut affiliated with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), is also adopting Kemp’s ground game. The governor’s team coordinated with the super PAC to hand over its “door-knocking, data analytics, phone-banking and micro-targeting program,” Politico first reported.
“Gov. Kemp wrote the playbook for how to win big in Georgia, and we are thrilled to partner with his top-notch team to elect Herschel Walker to the Senate,” Senate Leadership Fund President Steven Law told the outlet. “As we learned in 2020, Republican turnout is essential for victory in a runoff election, and we are leaving no stone unturned – preparing a ground assault to partner with the coming air war.”
In addition to the Senate Leadership Fund’s advertising, Walker’s campaign is planning to release an ad after Thanksgiving highlighting Kemp’s support for Walker, a source told Breitbart News.
Some Democrat-aligned observers have criticized Kemp for waiting until after the general election to ramp up his support for Walker, but Kemp told the AJC ahead of Election Day that he and Walker were “dividing and conquering” in the leadup to the race as Kemp worked to defeat Abrams.
In the general election, Warnock edged out Walker by one point but came in under the 50 percent required by Georgia law to win the race outright.
A recent AARP poll showed Warnock now holds a slim four-point lead over Walker, but the lead is within the poll’s margin of error and the poll was taken November 11 through 17, ahead of the final two-week stretch of the race when campaign efforts are heading into overdrive.