On Wednesday, Trump held a fundraiser for his longtime political ally, Herschel Walker, at Mar-a-Lago. He piled endorsement on the former University of Georgia football star running against Sen. Raphael Warnock in 2022.
However, that same night, Trump issued a statement welcoming Democrat Stacey Abrams into the Georgia governor's race. Abrams, who herself declined to concede based on allegations of fraud in the 2018 gubernatorial election, declared her bid to challenge Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in 2022. Trump has frequently propped her up as a means of denouncing Kemp for failing to overturn the state's 2020 election results.
"Stacey 'The Hoax' Abrams has just announced that she's running for Governor of Georgia. I beat her single-handedly, without much of a candidate, in 2018. I'll beat her again, but it will be hard to do with Brian Kemp," Trump announced in the statement. "The MAGA base will just not vote for him after what he did concerning Election Integrity and two horribly run elections, for President and then two Senate seats. But some good Republicans will run, and some good Republicans will get my endorsement, and some good Republicans will WIN!"
Early polling shows Walker, not former Sen. Kelly Loeffler, as Republicans' top chance at unseating Warnock, and Trump's influence could boost GOP turnout in November 2022. Party officials largely attribute Trump and his allies' attacks against sitting Republicans responsible for running elections to Warnocks' victory over Loeffler in the January 2021 runoff. Still, some party officials view Trump's penchant for splitting the primary field as potentially detrimental down the line.
"United we win, divided we lose," former Georgia Republican Rep. Jack Kingston previously told the Washington Examiner.
"This is eerily similar to what we saw play out in the runoff," a veteran Republican campaign operative explained, according to the Washington Examiner. "Trump's out, but his base support in states like Georgia is as solid as ever. If Trump told them to, I'd bet these people might even vote for [Abrams] just to spite Kemp. What they don't realize is that the state is changing. Metro Atlanta is much more liberal than it was even two cycles ago, and local politicians like Kemp are what's standing in the way of Georgia becoming the next New York or California."