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Mike Pence to return to Georgia to host Sept. 13 rally for Kemp

Vice President Mike Pence will return to Georgia for the second time in two months to host an event to help Republican Brian Kemp, escalating the White House’s role in Georgia’s nationally watched race for governor. 

Pence is set to host the Sept. 13 fundraiser at an Atlanta hotel to boost Kemp in the race against Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is seeking to be the first Democrat to hold the state’s top office since 2003. Three people with direct knowledge of the event told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of the plans, which were later confirmed in an invite.

The fundraiser will raise cash for the Georgia GOP and will also feature Gov. Nathan Deal, U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Johnny Isakson, and state House Speaker David Ralston. It is not currently open to the public.

Pence last visited Georgia in July, attracting hundreds to a Macon hotel shortly after President Donald Trump offered a surprise endorsement for Kemp in his runoff against Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. He dubbed Kemp the “real deal” in the Georgia GOP, invoking the slogan Deal used. 

Kemp won that July 24 runoff in dominating fashion, capturing nearly three-quarters of the GOP vote. 

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In the November race, Kemp aims to energize conservatives who support both Deal and Trump by highlighting promises to cut taxes and limit state spending even as he tries to broaden his appeal to a wider bloc of the electorate

The vice president has become a frequent presence in Georgia, stumping for Trump during the 2016 campaign and Karen Handel’s bid for the 6th Congressional District. He also recently quarterbacked an event touting the GOP tax bill and visited Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival

Pence also has another connection to Georgia. His top aide, Nick Ayers, is a Georgia native who was an adviser to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and his first-cousin, U.S. Sen. David Perdue. 

Read more recent AJC stories about the Georgia race for governor here:

‘Too honest for politics.’ Kemp’s latest ad features a new pitch 

With Labor Day, campaigns grow intense as Kemp, Abrams soften images  

Georgia candidates for governor have mapped own paths to victory  

A boundary feud colors a ruby-red county’s view of Kemp  

A new watchdog coalition targets Georgia ‘dark money’  

Kemp: I will veto any legislation that veers from federal ‘religious liberty’ law  

Why Georgia Democrats aren’t putting Trump at center of November hopes  

Abrams takes aim at Republicans and a ‘paralyzing fear of complacency’  

Kemp unveils tax-cut proposal aimed at Georgia’s military veterans  


About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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