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Kemp wins Georgia GOP governor’s primary, facing Stacey Abrams again

Georgia’s incumbent governor defeated David Perdue, other Republicans in Republican primary
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 8:34 PM EDT|Updated: May. 25, 2022 at 11:41 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Get ready for Kemp vs. Abrams, round two. It’s game on.

Gov. Brian Kemp won Georgia’s GOP gubernatorial primary Tuesday night, defeating four other candidates - including former U.S. Sen. David Perdue - to earn his party’s nomination for a second term as governor.

>> LIVE ELECTION RESULTS HERE

Perdue conceded the race to Kemp around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night.

Kemp will face Democrat Stacey Abrams this November in a rematch of 2018′s nationally watched Georgia’s governor’s race. Abrams won her party’s uncontested primary Tuesday night, and was officially declared its winner shortly before 7:20 p.m.

“Our battle is far from over tonight,” Kemp told hundreds of supporters at his victory speech late Tuesday night. “Tonight, the fight for the soul of our state begins to make sure that Stacey Abrams is not going to be our governor or the next president.”

>> What to expect in Kemp vs. Abrams, round two

Four years ago, Abrams won only 29 counties compared to Kemp’s 130, but lost the popular vote by only 54,723 votes. The final tally was Kemp’s 50.2% (1,978,408) to Abrams’ 48.8% (1,923,685 votes). Libertarian Ted Metz earned less than 1% of the vote.

Georgia’s GOP gubernatorial primary also was a test of strength for former President Donald Trump, who enthusiastically endorsed Perdue. Trump has repeatedly accused Kemp of allowing Democrats to steal Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results. Joe Biden won Georgia in 2020, the first Democrat since Bill Clinton in 1992 to carry the state in a presidential election.

Biden narrowly defeated Trump by only 11,779 votes, a margin of less than half of 1%. Georgia was the only deep Southern state carried by Biden two years ago.

On Monday, both Kemp and Perdue campaigned a full final day before the election. Kemp canceled a fly-around because of weather, but held a virtual news conference in the morning and a metro Atlanta rally with former Vice President Mike Pence, who broke with Trump by endorsing Kemp.

Former U.S. senator David Perdue challenged incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp in the May 24 GOP primary.
Former U.S. senator David Perdue challenged incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp in the May 24 GOP primary.(WGCL)

For his part, Trump hosted a Monday night tele-rally for Perdue.

Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial election was the closest since 1966, when a race featuring Democrat Lester Maddox, Republican Howard “Bo” Calloway and Ellis Arnall, an independent, was thrown into the state General Assembly to decide. Maddox was elected by state legislators on the first ballot despite having lost the popular vote by less than 1 percent.