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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Trump Is Planning to Play a Limited Role in the Georgia Senate Runoff

Donald J. Trump will not leave the state of Florida in order to campaign alongside Herschel Walker during the final week of the Georgia Senate runoff election. This decision was made after both campaigns came to the conclusion that the former president’s appearance carried more political risks than rewards. On Monday, campaign officials for the two Republican candidates announced that Donald J. Trump would not be leaving Florida in order to campaign alongside Herschel Walker.

According to two individuals with knowledge of the planning, Mr. Trump will not stage one of his hallmark campaign rallies but instead will schedule a call with supporters in the state and will continue making online fund-raising requests for Mr. Walker. Both of these events will take place in Wisconsin.

The decision to keep Mr. Trump out of the spotlight was a response in large part to the former president’s political style and image, which can motivate Democratic voters while also turning off significant segments of moderate Republicans.

Since Mr. Trump launched his candidacy for the presidency of the United States in 2024 two weeks ago, the political calculus in the state of Georgia has become a net disadvantage for him. In the presidential election of 2020, he became the first Republican presidential candidate in the previous 28 years to fail to win the state. In the primary elections earlier this year, both of his favoured candidates for governor, Brian Kemp, and secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, lost to their respective incumbents.

In addition, it seemed as if Mr. Trump had a role in the general election that took place in the state back in November. About one-third of Republicans in Georgia who cast ballots indicated they did not support Mr. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” initiative. According to the results of an AP VoteCast poll of voters in 2022, Mr. Kemp secured the support of 90 percent of those voters and won re-election by 7.5 percentage points.

Mr. Walker, who came in second place, one point behind the Democratic incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock, got the support of just three quarters of Republicans who were opposed to Mr. Trump’s Make America Great Again initiative.

One of Mr. Trump’s campaign rallies with Mr. Walker took place in September 2021, while the other took place in March of the previous year. Although Mr. Trump’s super PAC, MAGA Inc., spent $3.6 million on airing TV advertising in Georgia to support Mr. Walker’s candidacy for general election, the president did not host a rally in the state after Mr. Walker became a contender in the general election.

In contrast to Mr. Trump’s strategy from two years ago, in which he conducted two massive rallies in Georgia before the two Senate runoffs in that state, the choice to stay away from Georgia during the last stretch of the runoff stands in stark contrast to that strategy. The Democrats are now in charge of the chamber after the Republicans were defeated in each of those races.

This time around, Democrats have already clinched the majority in the Senate for another two years by protecting all of their incumbents and switching control of a seat in Pennsylvania. This happened when Mr. Trump’s handpicked nominee, Mehmet Oz, was defeated by Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.

Republicans have been struggling to come to terms with the broader effect that the former president had on the midterm elections, in which his endorsed candidates failed to win key races for House and Senate as well as high-profile contests for governor and secretary of state in states that were considered to be in a state of flux.

Mr. Trump had been teasing a visit to Georgia for weeks, and during his speech declaring his candidacy at Mar-a-Lago, he offered his full support of Mr. Walker, calling him “a fabulous human being who loves our country” and urging all of his supporters in Georgia to vote for him.

The campaign of Mr. Walker is entering a key moment as it approaches the last week of the runoff window in Georgia and the sole week of early voting for the state. On November 8, he trailed the rest of the Republican ticket in the state and received around 200,000 less votes than Governor Brian Kemp did.

Mr. Walker’s campaign has been aided by a number of prominent Republicans, including Senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz, as well as Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. These individuals have travelled often to the state of Georgia to support Mr. Walker. Mr. Kemp also made an appearance with Mr. Walker at a campaign rally in a suburb of Metro Atlanta, and he cut an advertising for Mr. Walker that is now airing in the markets of Atlanta.

Chris Matthews
I am a Political News Journalist of The National Era
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