So, what does an endorsement from President Donald Trump really mean? In Florida, you can bet that both Adam Putnam and Congressman Ron DeSantis, who has the backing of Trump are watching for signs of how strong a White House endorsement will impact the primary in August and then again in the November midterms.
Well, Tuesday night in Georgia Republican’s went to the polls to cast their vote to elect their party’s candidate for governor to run in the general election in November. Secretary of State Brian Kemp, with the help of an endorsement of President Trump, won a decisive victory and he will face Democrat Stacey Abrams in what is likely to be one of the most watched races of the midterms.
A self-described “unapologetic conservative” whose campaign ran an eyebrow-raising ad that said he could use his own pickup truck to “round up criminal illegals,” Kemp rode conservatives’ contempt for the establishment to capitalize on his bare-knuckled, outsider politics.
Meanwhile, Abrams is looking to make history should she win making her the country’s first black female governor, in a race that will test Democrats’ assertion that changing demographics are turning Georgia from a GOP stronghold into a swing state.
Putnam represents Florida’s Republican establishment that has held the governor’s spot for decades. The surging DeSantis, has come almost from out of nowhere with the backing of President Trump and proves that the Florida GOP is now the party of Trump not the party of Jeb Bush anymore.
Polls are very close and coming on July 31st President Trump will be at the Florida State Fairgrounds to hold a rally to give even stronger backing to both DeSantis and Gov. Rick Scott who hopes to defeat Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson in the fall.
The results in Georgia is something to watch as Kemp beat once heavily favored Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who outraised Kemp more than 2-to-1 and had a Rolodex of endorsements from establishment Republicans including outgoing Gov. Nathan Deal, who was blocked by term limits from seeking a third term.
The south has proven that a Trump endorsement is meaningful as he also saw upset wins is South Carolina where he backed congressional candidate Katie Arrington ahead of her upset of Republican Rep. Mark Sanford, and he helped Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama withstand a GOP primary challenge. Those wins have given the president a reason to get even more involved in looming Republican primaries, including gubernatorial contests in not Georgia and soon Florida but also in Kansas as well as Tennessee.