MARIETTA, Ga. — Republican activists in Cobb County have voted to censure Gov. Brian Kemp for failing to curb illegal immigration. The resolution is merely an opinion, but Kemp’s backers fear it will weaken the governor as he heads into re-election next year.
When he ran for Governor in 2018, one of Kemp’s TV ads colorfully promised to take on illegal immigration by suggesting he'd use his "big truck" to "take 'em home myself."
Cobb County’s Republican committee recently voted to censure Kemp for failing to keep his promise in their eyes.
"These resolutions are just a way of communicating to elected officials how grassroots Republicans feel. That’s all they are," said Debbie Dooley, a GOP activist who said she helped write the censure resolution.
Dooley said GOP committees in counties across Georgia have passed resolutions censuring Kemp. She points out that similar GOP resolutions also targeted Republican governors Nathan Deal and Sonny Perdue.
Kemp supporter Jason Shepherd resigned from Cobb’s Republican committee after its vote.
"It's just the fundamental unfairness of resolution," said Shepherd, who added the complainers should have waited for Kemp's four-year term to be completed before accusing him of failing to act.
He believes the decision was driven by Republicans still angry about Donald Trump losing the 2020 election, and what they consider to be Kemp's failure to illegally act to overturn the results.
"People mad at Gov. Kemp wanted their pound of flesh and this was the vehicle they used," Shepherd said.
During a rally in Perry in September, Trump made a wisecrack about preferring Democrat Stacey Abrams to Kemp, with whom Trump has feuded with since November.
"Your RINO (Republican in name only) Governor Brian Kemp, who has been a complete disaster on election integrity," Trump railed at the rally as the crowd cheered. "Stacey, would you like to take his place? It’s OK with me."
Trump may have been joking, but Shepherd said it is needlessly weakening Kemp as he approaches re-election in 2022. "I think there are Republicans voting against their own principles just to get their pound of flesh from 2020 election," he said.
Shepherd said Kemp will still thrive because Republicans backed his pro-business policies during the pandemic, but Dooley disagrees.
"Brian Kemp is the one that weakens the entire Republican ticket, and that’s what Republicans need to be concerned about," she said.
Dooley is among the few Republicans who think Kemp will lose the Republican primary for Governor. It could happen, she says, if former president Trump decides to endorse one of his Republican opponents sometime between now and the primary.
Dooley supports longtime Democrat-turned-Republican Vernon Jones in the GOP primary. Although Jones spoke at the Perry rally, Trump has not endorsed him.