It’s certainly not a secret that former President Donald Trump is no fan of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R). The pair of Republicans clashed often — and publicly — in the wake of the 2020 election, largely over disagreements with how the vote count in the Peach State was handled.
Without Trump on his side, Kemp may soon find himself out of a job. According to the Daily Caller, the governor now has his first heavy-hitting opponent in his state’s upcoming GOP gubernatorial primary in the form of Vernon Jones, a former Georgia state representative who left the Democratic Party after expressing support for then-President Trump.
“The time has come”
Jones, who joined the GOP in January but endorsed Trump’s 2020 re-election bid last April while he was still a Democrat, will be one of the first to prove whether the former president and his policies still have a stronghold on Republican voters.
The Democrat-turned-Republican announced in a tweet Thursday that he would be officially declaring his candidacy at a press conference the next day.
“The time has come,” Jones said.
The time has come. Georgia is ready! pic.twitter.com/ClIcnF6JtI
— Vernon Jones (@RepVernonJones) April 15, 2021
“On this historical day, I am planting my flag on the hallowed grounds of the Georgia state Capitol,” Jones added at the presser, according to The Hill. “I am officially announcing my candidacy for governor of the great state of Georgia.”
Jones went on to tell prospective supporters in the Peach State that he sympathizes with their feelings of not being heard leading up to and after the 2020 election, and he even took several jabs at Kemp, who he suggested doesn’t have GOP voters’ best interests in mind.
A look ahead
Given the current state of heated politics in Georgia — especially on the heels of the controversial voter reform law that passed last month — Democrats are also planning a major push to secure control of the state, as The Hill notes.
Jones seemed to acknowledge that Dems would likely put up political power player and failed 2018 gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams as their candidate for governor at his Friday press conference, saying plainly: “I will beat Stacey Abrams.”
The fired-up, pro-Trump candidate also reportedly called out Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who Jones says were the two people most responsible for allowing two Democratic candidates to win a pair of special runoff elections for the U.S. Senate in January.
Only time will tell if Jones is able to win the GOP primary and take the nomination — but given how Georgia Republicans feel about Kemp, Raffensperger, and other establishment RINOs in the state, it’s likely a safe bet that Jones has the race in the bag.