Former Democratic State Rep. Vernon Jones raised $650,000 in recent weeks in his bid to upset Gov. Brian Kemp in next year’s Republican primary.
Ex-New York mayor and Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani was in town last week to help Jones raise money. Jones, like Giuliani, has advanced Trump’s conspiracy theories that massive fraud prevented the former president from being re-elected last year.
Trump, who was beaten by Democrat Joe Biden, has criticized Kemp for not doing enough to overturn the election results in Georgia. The former president has not backed Jones, despite his regular attacks on Kemp. However, Jones expects more support from Trump’s inner circle.
“The support our campaign has attracted has made one thing clear: Georgians have not forgotten Brian Kemp’s betrayal of President Trump,” said Jones, noting that more than 10,000 donors had given to his campaign in 10 weeks. “While Governor Kemp sat on the sidelines in 2020, I fought on the frontlines to restore the integrity of our elections and stop the steal.
“Georgia Republicans are tired of politicians who talk like Donald Trump but act like Mitt Romney.”
Jones’ campaign reported having about $115,000 on hand at the end of last month.
Kemp is expected to announce later today that his campaign has about $9 million banked for his re-election campaign, and incumbent governors typically don’t have trouble raising money from the state’s powerbrokers.
Democrat Stacey Abrams, whom Kemp beat in 2018, is expected to seek a rematch but has not announced her plans. Abrams has a nationwide network of supporters and set fundraising records the last time she ran, so the 2022 governor’s race is guaranteed to be an expensive contest.