Thursday August 11th, 2022 5:06AM

Trump's influence on the line in key races ahead of rally

By Jonathan O'Brien Anchor/Reporter

Former President Donald Trump will take the stage at the Banks County Dragway Saturday to stump for candidates he's backing for some of Georgia's top offices. 

"We're going to have a lot of fun, and we're going to support a great gentleman, a great candidate he's running for governor, David Perdue," Trump said in a video message posted last week. "He's going to clean things up. He's going to do a great job."

Trump will speak around 7 p.m. following remarks by 11 other speakers. 

  • Former U.S. Senator and Gubernatorial Candidate David Perdue 
  • State Senator and candidate for Lt. Governor Burt Jones 
  • Former UGA Football star and U.S. Senate Candidate Herschel Walker
  • 10th Congressional District Rep. Jody Hice, who is running for Secretary of State 
  • 14th Congressional District Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene
  • 9th Congressional District Rep. Andrew Clyde 
  • Former State Senator and 10th Congressional District Candidate Vernon Jones
  • John Gordon, Candidate for Georgia Attorney General 
  • Patrick Witt, Candidate for Georgia's Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner 
  • Tom Homan, former Acting Directors of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 
  • Todd Starnes, Conservative Talk radio show host 

The rally comes as polls show Perdue lagging in his bid to unseat Gov. Brian Kemp. Trump's trip to Georgia, the first since September 2021, signals the campaign hopes the former president's presence will boost their poll numbers. 

The stop is also a part of a continued campaign of revenge against state officials Trump believes did not do enough to help him overturn the 2020 election results. 

"I'll be here in a year and a half campaigning against your governor and your crazy secretary of state," Trump said during a January 2021 rally in Dalton. 

Beyond the top races, Trump has deepened the divide in the Georgia GOP, taking aim at Kemp's allies. He recently endorsed a former administration official, Patrick Witt, for Georgia's Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner. Gov. Kemp appointed incumbent John King in 2019. 

In the Attorney General's race, Trump backs conservative lawyer John Gordon against incumbent Chris Carr. 

The Northeast Georgia rally doesn't seem to bother Kemp. "I can't control what the former president says; I can't control what other people running against me are saying," Kemp told reporters in February. "I'm focused on what Georgians want and what they need." 

The event and the subsequent primary on May 24 will test just how much sway the former president has over GOP politics in Georgia. 

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