ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp filled out paperwork to run for re-election Thursday and had a noisy rally afterward outside of his office at the Capitol.
Kemp has checked a lot of conservative boxes since he became governor, but faces Republican opposition because he ran afoul of former president Donald Trump.
A cheering crowd greeted Kemp, with his wife and two of his daughters, as he walked across the Capitol to appear for the first time as an official candidate for re-election. Kemp faces a tough primary battle against former U.S. Senator David Perdue, who qualified to run Wednesday with almost no fanfare.
With more than 150 supporters surrounding him, Kemp spoke for seven and a half minutes and didn’t utter Perdue’s name once.
"We are in the fight for the soul of our state against Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden, the national media and many far left allies that will be playing in this game," Kemp told the crowd.
Abrams qualified to run Tuesday. Abrams narrowly lost to Kemp in 2018. Polls have shown Kemp ahead of Perdue, though Kemp says he’s not looking past the May Republican primary.
"What we’re going to have to overcome to win the nomination, we’re not taking for granted. But our sights are focused on who the real opponent's going to be," Kemp said of Abrams. "We know the Democrats are going to line up behind her."
The question is whether Republicans will line up behind Kemp if he wins the May Republican primary. Perdue says they won’t.