The former vice president will be supporting Kemp as the Republican candidate up for re-election as Georgia’s governor in November against Trump’s pick David Perdue. The two candidates will face each other at a GOP primary on May 24, a day after the rally.
In a statement announcing he will headline the rally for Kemp, quoted by Politico, Pence called Kemp “one of the most successful conservative governors in America.”Trump is openly hostile to Kemp, who he blames for his 2020 election defeat as the governor refused to support the former president’s false claims that Joe Biden‘s victory had been marred by voter fraud.
Trump is supporting former senator Perdue at the May 24 primary. The former president has claimed that his supporters would show up at the elections in November if Kemp is chosen as the party’s candidate over Perdue—but polls have shown that the current governor is a strong favorite among voters.
A recent poll conducted by InsiderAdvantage and FOX 5 Atlanta shows that Kemp has a comfortable lead of 54 percent over Perdue, who struggles behind at 38 percent.Pence’s move to support Kemp is considered to be the latest example of numerous attempts by the vice president to move out of Trump’s long shadow.
The move to support Kemp by Pence is considered to be the latest example of numerous attempts by the vice president to move out of Trump’s long shadow.
After showing enduring loyalty to Trump through several controversies, scandals and investigations, in the past few months Pence has gradually distanced himself from the former president, with the announcement to join Kemp’s rally on the eve of the GOP primary being the most aggressive political stance he has taken against his former boss so far.
An initial rift between the two became apparent in June 2021, when Pence said for the first time that he will likely never agree with the former president on the violent mob of Trump supporters which stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The break between the two became clearly unfixable when, in February 2022, Pence responded to Trump’s claims that he could have unilaterally overturned the 2020 election’s result saying the former president was “wrong.”
The former vice president had previously never so overtly rebuked Trump. And it wasn’t the last time Pence would go against Trump.
Talking to Republican donors in March, the former vice president said there was no space in the party for “Putin’s apologists”—which many took as a reference to Trump’s declared appreciation of the Russian president in the past.
Pence’s distancing from Trump is feeding speculations that the former vice president is weighing the possibility of running at the 2024 election.