Trump’s high-dollar Atlanta fundraiser puts MAGA hierarchy in Georgia on display

Like other visits to the state, the former president’s fundraiser in Atlanta on Wednesday will be as notable for who attended the event as who avoided it.
Wednesday's fundraiser in Atlanta for former President Donald Trump's 20224 campaign should offer a rare look who his donors in Georgia are, as well as who could most benefit if voters back the former president's return to the White House. (Arvin Temkar /

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

Wednesday's fundraiser in Atlanta for former President Donald Trump's 20224 campaign should offer a rare look who his donors in Georgia are, as well as who could most benefit if voters back the former president's return to the White House. (Arvin Temkar /

When Donald Trump arrives in Atlanta for a high-dollar fundraiser on Wednesday, he’ll be surrounded by familiar allies. Former U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue will be on hand. So will Lt. Gov. Burt Jones and GOP mega-donor Bernie Marcus.

Missing from the lavish affair, which is expected to take in at least $5 million for Trump’s comeback bid, are other prominent GOP figures who have only reluctantly supported the former president or pointedly stayed neutral.

Gov. Brian Kemp hasn’t attended a Trump event since the former president tried to blame him for his 2020 election defeat and later tried to oust him from office. Attorney General Chris Carr and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger have also steered clear.

Like other visits to Georgia, Trump’s fundraiser in Atlanta will be as notable for who attended it as who avoided it.

And the wealthy patrons and powerful politicians who pack the private event will offer a rare look at the MAGA hierarchy in Georgia that is seeding Trump’s campaign coffers — and could most benefit from a November victory.

“I’m glad to be hosting the event,” said Jones, one of a handful of deep-pocketed Republicans listed as one of the fundraiser’s hosts. “I’m proud to support President Trump and will do whatever I can to get him elected and help turn this country around.”

It also puts a magnifying glass on the politicians competing for Trump’s favor if he’s elected to a second term. Jones and Loeffler, another co-host, could square off in 2026 to succeed Kemp. Perdue could be in the mix for a Cabinet post in a second Trump administration.

The who’s who of who’s attending — and the notable absences — puts the strains of the Trump era on display yet again in Georgia, which voted Democratic in 2020 for the first time in decades and is considered a crucial GOP target in November.

“Georgia is an anomaly because almost anywhere else the Republican infrastructure is Trump-led and MAGA-ified. But in Georgia you have an old guard Republican establishment that still runs the state, many of whom survived Trump’s opposition,” said GOP strategist Brian Robinson, who is adept at translating the former president’s populist mantra to a mainstream audience.

It creates this odd construct where the top Republicans in the state aren’t on the host committees for events like this,” Robinson said, adding they are still “team players” who will pull behind Trump in November.

That doesn’t mean they’re happy warriors. Kemp went to lengths to avoid saying whether he voted for Trump last month in Georgia’s presidential primary, though he’s repeatedly said he will support him now that he’s the party’s presumptive nominee.

Kemp’s wife, Marty, one of the governor’s closest advisers, recently turned heads when she told WSB-TV that Trump still hasn’t earned her support.

“We’ve got a long way going. I would probably write Brian Kemp’s name in. He’d make a darn good president, in my opinion,” she said, adding: “We’ve got a lot that will happen. Six to eight months is a lifetime in politics.”

Carr and Insurance Commissioner John King, who like Kemp also defeated Trump-blessed challengers in 2022, also endorsed his comeback after he sealed the nomination. Raffensperger is staying neutral, citing his role overseeing elections.

Trump told WSB’s “The Shelley Wynter Show” he hopes the two will campaign together in Georgia, which Biden captured by fewer than 12,000 votes in 2020.

“I think it’s important that we do because I think it’s important for both of us. I think it’s very important that Republicans win this upcoming election,” Trump said.

“I helped him get elected. He knows that. I very much helped him,” the former president added, referring to his 2018 endorsement of Kemp. “I think he respects that. And I hope that we’re going to be able to get along.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who defeated a challenger backed by Donald Trump in the 2022 GOP primary, has not endorsed the former president's bid to return to the White House. He has cited his role overseeing the state's elections for staying neutral.  (Arvin Temkar/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Credit: TNS

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Credit: TNS

The internal GOP rift is no small matter in Georgia, where swing voters helped elect Biden in 2020 and powered victories by Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in U.S. Senate races in 2021 and 2022.

Polls show Biden and Trump in a tight race in Georgia, and Republicans say they can’t just rely on the Democrat’s low approval ratings to recapture the state in November.

Democrats, meanwhile, are taking strides to build up the campaign’s political infrastructure, recently announcing a slate of offices and a contingent of new staffers in Georgia devoted to drive up turnout for Biden.

The Democrats’ expansion highlighted Biden’s enormous fundraising edge over his rival and a growing infrastructure that contrasts with Trump’s still meager Georgia operation.

The Georgia GOP is focused mainly on promoting Trump and financing legal bills for a trio of Republican electors charged in Fulton County’s election interference case, while Kemp has directed his political network to help legislative candidates.

Georgia GOP Chair Josh McKoon downplayed the internal fissures, saying in a “Politically Georgia” interview Tuesday that he’s confident the disparate efforts will pay off.

“They’re helping us marshal our forces so we’ll be successful in the November election. This is not division. This is addition,” he said. “It’s more players on the field, more resources that are being spent on turning out Republicans.”

Georgia GOP Chair Josh McKoon played down divisions within the Republican Party, saying it will mean more resources "are being spent on turning out Republicans" for the November election. (Natrice Miller/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

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Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC