In a tweet sure to anger the political establishment, President Donald Trump endorsed Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp in his run for Governor of the Peach State. His opponent, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, has been fully embraced by the establishment and with this late endorsement, voters now have a lot to think about before casting their ballot on Tuesday.
Brian Kemp is running for Governor of the great state of Georgia. The Primary is on Tuesday. Brian is tough on crime, strong on the border and illegal immigration. He loves our Military and our Vets and protects our Second Amendment. I give him my full and total endorsement.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2018
Georgia-based publications have called Cagle “the Georgia Capitol crowd’s man for governor” who has received substantial financial support from “lobbyists, political action committees and legacy donors.” On the other hand, Brian Kemp has been seen as the underdog who has consistently fought back against the establishment.
Trump’s endorsement of Kemp also puts him at odds with the National Rifle Association, who endorsed his opponent, who they called “a steadfast supporter of the Second Amendment.” But despite organizational support, not everyone in the organization, and the gun rights movement as a whole, seems too thrilled with their endorsement.
Longtime NRA board member Bob Barr came to Kemp’s defense, endorsing him earlier this month. In a statement, Barr said, “As a Board Member of the NRA since 1997, I can say without any hesitation whatsoever, that of the two candidates in the Republican run-off, Brian Kemp is by far the best man to represent us in the Governor’s race.”
The NRA’s endorsement of Cagle likely comes due to the fact that Cagle has long been seen as the front-runner in the race. But to gun rights organizations actually located in the state, the endorsement seems like a slap in the face.
Georgia Gun Owners, headquartered in Kennesaw, has led the charge in support of pro-gun legislation in Georgia and the group didn’t mince words when it comes to Cagle’s record on the Second Amendment. Executive Director Patrick Parsons fired back at Cagle for his refusal to fight for pro-gun Constitutional Carry legislation.
“In my eight legislative sessions working the halls of the State Capitol in Atlanta, I can tell you that Casey Cagle has never lifted a finger for Constitutional Carry,” Parsons stated. “And when there was a chance for a vote on Constitutional Carry on the floor of the Senate in 2017, he didn’t allow it to come up for a vote.”
Along with Georgia Gun Owners, Luis Valdez of The Truth About Guns, questioned Cagle, calling him “no friend of gun owners,” before laying out his record of betrayal for gun owners:
- 2013: SB188 (Campus Carry) was introduced twice within that legislative session but Cagle refused to allow the Georgia Senate to have a floor vote.
- 2014: Cagle wanted to have ‘training requirements’ inserted into HB65 when the bill being debated and amended in the Conference Committee.
- 2016: While hosting a forum with Georgia’s religious leaders; Cagle told them that Campus Carry was not “responsible” and he “does not agree with this and other legislation being pushed upon our state.”
- 2017: The Georgia Legislature passed Campus Carry but Cagle said it was a “thoughtful compromise” when he allowed his College and Career Academies to remain on the exemption list.
- 2017: Cagle sent SB177 (Georgia Constitutional Carry) to die in committee and blocked three additional Pro-Gun amendments to be heard in the Senate.
- 2018: Cagle during an interview with the news stated “Georgia is in a very good position where our gunlaws stand today, and I know of no areas where gun rights need to be expanded in the state.”
President Donald Trump’s endorsement of Kemp, while it may ruffle some feathers, truly shows that he understands what is best for his supporters in Georgia. Trump’s entire presidency has been about fighting back against the establishment, and this endorsement clearly shows that he is committed to that fight.
Georgia’s primary election is on Tuesday, July 24th, and is sure to be a close one.
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