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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Says He Did Not Vote for Trump in G.O.P. Primary


Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican and reluctant Trump supporter, had for weeks declined to answer if former President Donald J. Trump was his pick to be the G.O.P. nominee.

On Wednesday, Mr. Kemp finally answered the question: He did not vote for the party’s standard-bearer in the primary; instead, he cast a blank ballot.

“I voted, but I didn’t vote for anybody,” Mr. Kemp said in an interview yesterday with CNN, adding he was resigned to the outcome. “Look, at that point, it didn’t really matter.”

Mr. Kemp said he would support the Republican candidates for president and vice president, and Mr. Trump was expected to be the likely presidential nominee. After the 2020 election, Mr. Trump criticized Mr. Kemp for certifying the results in Georgia, a state that Joseph R. Biden Jr. won by over 11,000 votes. Mr. Trump went so far as to call for Mr. Kemp’s resignation. Mr. Biden is the first Democrat to win Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992.

In March 2021, Mr. Kemp said that he would support Mr. Trump if he ran for president in 2024. Later that year, Mr. Trump said at a rally in Perry, Ga., that former state Representative Stacey Abrams, Mr. Kemp’s Democratic opponent in the 2018 and 2022 governor’s races, might run the state better than Mr. Kemp did. In 2022, Mr. Kemp easily defeated a primary challenge by former Senator David Perdue, who had been endorsed by Mr. Trump.

Mr. Kemp endorsed the former president tersely in March. “I think he’d be better than Joe Biden,” Mr. Kemp said of Mr. Trump, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s as simple as that.”

In his interview with CNN on Wednesday, Mr. Kemp said that he hoped Mr. Trump would take the debate stage and “not look in the rearview mirror” but instead be forward-thinking.

“I mean, regardless of, you know, our history together, I have a vested interest in Georgia remaining in Republican hands,” Mr. Kemp said.


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