Former Isakson aide to serve as Kemp’s next chief of staff

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson and campaign manager Trey Kilpatrick watch returns from his war room upstairs from the Republican watch party at the Grand Hyatt, Buckhead on Election Day in 2016. Curtis Compton /ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

A former senior aide to retired U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson will serve as Gov. Brian Kemp’s next chief of staff.

Trey Kilpatrick is set to join Kemp’s administration Oct. 15, a move that comes as the Republican grapples with a coronavirus pandemic and an economic slowdown that has imperiled his political agenda.

Kilpatrick will succeed Tim Fleming, a longtime Kemp aide who announced in September that he is leaving office to join the newly formed Georgia United Victory PAC, a free-spending outside group that promotes U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s campaign.

Caylee Noggle, who briefly served as interim chief of staff, will remain as a top official in Kemp’s office, the governor said in a press release. She was the first woman in Georgia history to serve in that role, Kemp said.

Kilpatrick has a long history with Isakson, who announced in August 2019 that he would step down after decades in public office. Going back to 2009, Kilpatrick served as the Republican’s political director, state director and campaign manager before becoming his deputy chief of staff.

Trey Kilpatrick, a former chief aide to U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, will become Gov. Brian Kemp's chief of staff on Oct. 15.

In February, he was appointed vice president of government and community affairs at Georgia State University.

In his new role, Kilpatrick is charged with supervising the governor’s senior deputies, marshaling his priorities through the Legislature and navigating crises.

The switch comes at a time when Kemp faces mounting challenges over his coronavirus response, threats to his political clout and a likely rematch against Democrat Stacey Abrams in 2022.

Kemp said in a statement that he is “truly honored” to welcome Kilpatrick to his administration.

“With his wealth of experience from both federal and state government, Trey is uniquely qualified to lead my administration,” the governor said.

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