Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed The Tennessee Star’s national political editor Neil McCabe to the newsmaker line to comment upon the Georgia primary election results and Trump-endorsed candidate David Perdue’s loss.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line now by the very best Washington correspondent in the country, the national political editor for The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network, Neil W. McCabe. Good morning, Neil.
McCabe: Michael, very good to be with you.
Leahy: Neil, on our program today, we’ve talked extensively about the evil, tragic mass murder in Uvalde, Texas, yesterday. Nineteen elementary school children were killed, and two adults were killed. And that has been a very tragic day.
Politically, however, I wanted to talk to you about what happened last night politically, particularly in Georgia. Give us a summary of the results there. And what do you think this might mean for former President Donald Trump?
McCabe: I think that, perversely, the Georgia primary results prove that Donald J. Trump is the 80o-pound gorilla in Republican politics. Kemp beat Perdue pretty soundly, basically 70-25, whatever it was.
Leahy: Right now, it’s 73-21, 52-point margin. I call that a stomping.
McCabe: But if you think that Brian Kemp was going to sign a constitutional carry bill that he had been fighting for three years, that wasn’t because of Donald J. Trump. If you’ll remember that Major League Baseball pulled the all-star game from Atlanta because of a voting bill that Kemp signed.
If you think that Kemp was going to sign a voting bill, which was basically an admission by him and the political class of Georgia that they had jacked up the 2020 election, that would have never happened if it wasn’t for Trump and the potential of a Perdue challenge. A lot of work and effort had to be put into beating Perdue, and it was wildly successful. Our poll said it would be 20 points.
Leahy: Our polls said 30 points.
McCabe: We didn’t say 50 points.
Leahy: Nobody said 52 points. I think that the largest margin was like 32 points in terms. And our poll was conducted two weeks before.
Was there a momentum shift in the last two weeks to further increase that margin for Brian Kemp in the GOP primary for governor of Georgia?
I think the biggest influence on the Perdue campaign in the last two weeks was estate planning. And he made the decision that he was going to leave his children the $5 million he should have spent of his own money rather than throw it into the fire of TV ads.
Leahy: So if he spent that $5 million, the margin of victory would have gone down from 73-21 to what, 68?
Carmichael: Then your poll would have been correct.
McCabe: If he could get it up to the third. The goal was to hold the guy under 50. And so you could have made an effort. I don’t think Perdue won a county. It was just an utter collapse.
And I don’t know, he certainly wasn’t on TV in the last two weeks. And if he had made an effort, say, to build on, you know, Trump, gave him a rally, Trump gave him the endorsement. Trump can only do so much. I think that Raffensperger …
Leahy: Just to summarize that, the Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, who I’ve described as the worst secretary of state in the country, that guy actually has had a very concerted effort to reach out to conservative media.
He actually was on Fox News. He talked to John Solomon of Just the News. He talked to our colleague and partner in Georgia, John Fredericks, extensively.
And he ended up winning without going into a runoff, 52 percent to 33 percent, over congressman Jody Hice. I’ll say this, it is a credit to his political operation. Why do you think he was able to succeed and avoid a runoff?
McCabe: Once again, I think that it was a failure of Hice. And somebody asked me like two months ago and I kind of dismissed it, but the guy said to me, why would somebody who’s a congressman want to be secretary of state of Georgia?
Isn’t that a step down? I was like, well, no, but when you think about it, Hice loved being a congressman. All through the campaign, Hice was getting headlines for his amendments and speeches on the House floor.
He loved being a congressman, and it was apparent that he didn’t love the idea of being secretary of state. And so maybe that big voting bill and the trauma of losing the all-star game and everything else, maybe the message to the voters is, hey, we made a big change.
It upset a lot of people. So maybe it was significant and now we can move on. I think Kemp deserves credit for how he worked the inside game and the outside game. I compare Kemp’s campaign to what Mike DeWine did in Ohio.
He cut deals with businesses, opening plants. He did deals on taxes. He went around and acted like the governor. So there we are.
Listen to the interview:
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