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‘A Total Cluster In That Primary’: Who Will Succeed Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp In 2026?

  • With Gov. Brian Kemp having a limited term and a potential run for the Senate, Republicans in Georgia are already eyeing candidates to run for gubernatorial election in 2026, according to Republican state operatives. A political expert told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
  • Attorney General Chris Carr is reportedly planning to run, and state experts say the Republican primary for gubernatorial election in 2026 will be contested by several other lawmakers elected statewide. A high-profile Republican could also run for office, which is likely to be highly controversial, he said.
  • “After 25 years, it’s too late to realize that many of the people on the list are already engaged to other people. Know who’s with you and who’s not.” It’s too late,” a Republican consultant close to Kerr told DCNF.

With little else to vote for in Georgia beyond the 2024 presidential election, Republicans in the state are already eyeing who will succeed Republican Governor Brian Kemp in 2026, says a state political expert. the house told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Republican Attorney General Chris Carr fueled rumors about 2026 when he reportedly told the state’s Republicans this week that he plans to run for governor. With Kemp’s limited term in office and the possibility of running for the Senate in 2026, numerous Republican operatives and political experts in Georgia told the DCNF that many Republicans are vying for the vacancy. said he expected it to be

“There’s going to be a complete cluster in the primary, and everybody’s going to get caught up in it,” Jay Williams, a Republican consultant in Georgia, told DCNF. (Related: Republican AG teases gubernatorial race to succeed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in 2026: Report)

Republican consultants and political experts expect the GOP gubernatorial primary to be fiercely competitive, with statewide elected representatives with strong fundraising capabilities likely to be among the candidates. be. They argued that the outcome of the 2024 presidential election will have a significant impact on both the primaries and the popular vote in the Georgia gubernatorial election.

Georgia experts told the DCNF that Kerr is laying the groundwork for a 2026 gubernatorial run to bolster early support and fundraising.

“[Carr’s] We’re just doing what we have to do in Georgia today,” a Republican consultant close to Kerr told DCNF. “After 25 years, it’s too late to realize that many of the people on the list are already engaged to other people. Know who’s with you and who’s not.” too late for

Attorney General was first appointed It was founded in 2016 by then-Republican Governor Nathan Deal after serving as Secretary of Economic Development. Kerr won the 2018 Attorney General election by 2.6 points and in 2022 by 5.3 points, defeating the candidate backed by former President Donald Trump in the primary.

Kerr has focused his tenure on prosecuting criminals, fighting human trafficking and promoting electoral integrity. according to to his website.

Dr. Charles Brock, a professor of political science at the University of Georgia and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told DCNF that the attorney general is seen as a more traditional side of the party and does not align with the former president. Mr. Block said Mr. Kerr had “low support” statewide and lacked “human commitment.”

According to Jason Shepard, a prominent Republican operative in Georgia, Carr is a high-profile, statewide elected attorney general who is pursuing a “signature issue” and is “the front-runner.” ’” he told the DCNF. Georgia Republican consultant Jay Morgan told the DCNF that the Attorney General’s profile, track record and background make Carr a “very attractive candidate” and he could win the general election. He said that it was a factor that convinced him.

“Political wise, Attorney General Carr is focused on helping Republicans win Georgia in 2024. Certainly,” said Attorney General Carr’s political strategist Heath Garrett. DCNF. “That requires a conservative leader with a strong track record of public safety and job creation who can win in highly competitive states.”

Political operatives all say that one of the obstacles Mr. Kerr will face in 2026 is fundraising, especially considering that many other potential candidates can set up their own funds. matched. For those and other reasons, Williams doesn’t think he can win the primary.

“He just wants people to know he’s running. He’s definitely trying to get ahead of Burt and the others,” Williams said. “As for who else is rumored to run, I don’t know if he’s on the right track.”

Other Republican frontrunners emerging in Georgia, experts say, include Lt. Gov. Bert Jones, Secretary of State Brad Ravensperger, former Sen. state Republican.

Mr. Jones Businessman and former state senator approved In his 2022 election campaign, Trump beat The Democratic Party of Japan trailed the opposition by five points. The lieutenant governor was also a suspected 2020 Trump electoral fraud, but the judge blocked an attempt by Fulton County District Attorney Fanny Willis to investigate Jones in the case. according to To Georgia Public Radio.

Mr. Bullock said that if Mr. Jones regained the support of the former president, he would likely lead the way, but it was not yet clear how much weight those endorsements would carry in 2026.

Ravensperger confronts Trump after the 2020 presidential election by questioning the legitimacy of Georgia’s election results, demanding secretary of state “find” enough votes to secure victory in recount He suddenly became famous by asking forhe Before After serving in the state legislature, he was twice elected Secretary of State.

Loeffler was the first appointed Kemp was elected to the Senate when Republican Senator Johnny Isackson resigned in 2019, but in the 2020 general election he narrowly won the seat by two points over current Democratic Senator Rafael Warnock. lost.Since leaving her office, she has Founded 2021 Conservative Grassroots Greater Georgia Action.

Consultants close to Shepherd and Kerr said that if Kemp ran for Senate in 2026, Loeffler would run for governor, but if the governor doesn’t run against Democratic Sen. He also claimed to run for governor.

A spokeswoman for Loefler declined to comment on 2026, but insisted the former senator remains deeply involved in Georgia politics.

Morgan doesn’t expect there to be a clear front-runner because the primaries are packed with strong candidates, but he will pick a good candidate that the Republicans can see through to the end of the general election. is of the utmost importance, he told DCNF. Georgia is becoming a more purple state.

Atlanta, GA – November 8: Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp addresses supporters at a post-reelection overwatch party. (Megan Verner/Getty Images)

Republicans have lost several key Senate elections in recent cycles, giving both seats to Democrats, and the 2020 presidential election turned the state blue for the first time in decades. All other statewide elected offices and both houses of the state legislature are still held by Republicans.

Republican operatives and political pundits argued that the 2024 presidential election would have a significant impact on the gubernatorial race for both primaries and general elections.

“If you’re working closely with Trump, and certainly Burt Jones is focused on doing so, such as the many visits to Mar-a-Lago, then it’s a prime move. It’s helped people at the time, but it’s certainly never helped,” Block said. “Especially if he loses the presidency in the 2024 nomination process or the general election, will Trump keep up the same brilliance in 2026?”

Shepard echoed Brock’s sentiment, referring to whether the gubernatorial race would be under a new Republican president or the second midterm elections under a Democratic administration. Republican consultants close to Kerr said the presidential election would be an early indicator of a gubernatorial race because Georgia is a decidedly turbulent state.

“If Republicans can win Georgia in 2024 and deliver those electoral votes, Stacey Abrams and Democratic donors across the Democratic Rift will pour all of their political money into Georgia. For big money, Georgia will be a little less attractive, Raphael Warnock,” the consultant said.

Stacey Abrams doesn’t rule out a third goal lose He doubled Kemp by 1.4 points in 2018 and trailed by nearly 8 points in 2022. State experts expect many other Democrats to run, but Mr. Shepard argued that Democrats were not as popular as Republicans.

Kemp, Jones and Ravensperger did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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