- Trump and Pence fell out after the ex-VP certified the Electoral College votes on January 6, 2021.
- Now the two men are backing rival camps in the Georgia gubernatorial race, in a sort-of proxy war.
- On Monday, Pence will stump for Brian Kemp as Trump holds a tele-rally for a trailing David Perdue.
Donald Trump and Mike Pence will find themselves dueling in a virtual boxing ring on Monday night in Georgia where the winner — and loser — will be decided the next day.
The former president and his ex-vice president have picked opposing camps in the Georgia gubernatorial race in what appears to be the pinnacle of their proxy war since the two men fell out after the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack and Pence's decision to certify Joe Biden's electoral win.
Pence will be stumping for the incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp Monday night in Kennesaw, Georgia, while Trump holds a tele-rally for his preferred candidate, former Sen. David Perdue. Both events will happen the night before Georgians head to the polls on Tuesday to determine which Republican will challenge likely Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams in November.
For Pence, campaigning against the Trump-backed candidate on his home turf marks the former vice president's boldest break yet with his old boss. The latest polls show Kemp ahead of Perdue by about 30 points. That would put Pence in the more-likely winning camp and Trump on the losing side. And Trump hates to lose.
Pence joins a long list of high-profile Republicans such as Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who have crisscrossed Georgia in recent days to drum up support for Kemp.
Perdue, who lost his Senate reelection bid in a January 2021 runoff election, entered the 2022 gubernatorial race in December at the urging of Trump, who's been seeking revenge against Kemp for defying him by refusing to overturn Georgia's 2020 presidential election results. Neither Pence nor Kemp's teams immediately responded to Insider's request for comment about the Monday night campaign event. Insider has also reached out to Perdue's team.
—David Perdue (@DavidPerdueGA) May 23, 2022
In his last-minute salvo in his bid to defeat Kemp, Perdue has attempted to cast himself as the guy to beat Abrams in November.
"Abrams doesn't care about Georgia. She wants to live in the White House. It's up to us to make sure that NEVER happens," Perdue tweeted Monday morning, hours before his virtual rally with Trump.
At a campaign event in Augusta, Georgia over the weekend, he said Kemp has "divided the party" and would not be able to unite the pro-and anti-Trump factions to defeat Abrams.
"So I'm very concerned that he's gonna have a hard time pulling us together again in November," Perdue told supporters about his rival.
Perdue supporters are threatening to sit out the November elections if their candidate loses the primary rather than vote for Kemp, who they still hold responsible for Trump's 2020 loss in Georgia. Trump's team did not respond to a request for comment on the tele-rally, which comes days after news reports that he was backing away from Perdue as polls showed the candidate losing.
Meanwhile, Kemp is already anticipating that pro-Trump Republicans could try to challenge his primary win after the Tuesday vote. He's trying to get ahead of it by assuring voters that any "mechanical" issues that might have marred the 2020 election have already been solved through a bill he signed into law last year.
"That's why we have the laws and the constitution that we have when it comes to elections," Kemp told Insider May 19 in Georgia of the electoral changes he's overseen since taking office in 2018.