Former Vice President Mike Pence will campaign for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on the eve of his May 24 primary against Trump-backed former Sen. David Perdue.
Why it matters: Pence’s decision to back one of former President Trump’s most prominent GOP targets puts the fractures inside the Republican Party, and between Trump and his former vice president, on stark display.
The Georgia governor’s race is one of the nation’s most high-profile contested Republican primaries.
What he’s saying: “Brian Kemp is one of the most successful conservative governors in America,” Pence wrote in a statement, calling Kemp a friend. “I am proud to offer my full support for four more years of Brian Kemp as governor of the great state of Georgia!”
Catch up quick: The news comes after Axios first reported that Pence’s former chief of staff Marc Short had joined Kemp’s campaign as a senior adviser.
The big picture: Kemp has also lined up campaign support from fellow Trump targets including Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, Gov. Pete Ricketts of Nebraska and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Former President George W. Bush is headlining a fundraiser for Kemp in Dallas on Monday.
Of note: The last time Pence campaigned in Georgia was to support Perdue and former Sen. Kelly Loeffler in the Georgia runoffs.
The other side: Trump has criticized Kemp consistently since the last election and thrown all his support behind Perdue. He held a March rally in Commerce, Georgia, a tele-rally after that and donated half a million dollars to Perdue’s campaign.
But the former senator remains an average of 22 points behind Kemp in public polls, and Kemp has nearly 12 times more cash on hand than Perdue.According to a source familiar with the situation, no plans for another in-person Trump event are in the works right now, but another tele-rally is likely.
What’s next: A candidate needs more than 50% of the vote to avoid a June runoff.