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Brian Kemp tries to head off MAGA Republicans from challenging his likely win in Tuesday's GOP primary: 'In Georgia, it's easy to vote and hard to cheat'

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a large Kemp for Governor sign at his back, addresses supporters during a campaign rally in Watkinsville, Georgia.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during a Get Out the Vote cookout at the Hadden Estate at DGD Farms on May 21, 2022 in Watkinsville, Georgia.Joe Raedle/Getty Images
  • Gov. Brian Kemp maintains that no one can question Georgia's election integrity.

  • Trump has sown doubt about election results everywhere since losing in 2020.

  • Kemp backers said they hope MAGA world won’t baselessly contest losses this time around.

WAYNESBORO, Georgia — No Georgian, including those on the ballot in Tuesday's GOP primary, should doubt the fairness of Peach State elections, incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp has emphasized during the closing days of the intraparty contest.

"In Georgia, it's easy to vote and hard to cheat," Kemp has repeated during campaign stops across the battleground state. He's being challenged by Trump-backed 2020 election denier David Perdue, with the winner expected to face off against presumed Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams this fall.

Kemp's pitch, which was likely originally designed to provide political cover against former President Donald Trump's vendetta against Kemp for certifying Joe Biden's 2020 win, now also serves as a warning to those who might be tempted to question the outcome of the upcoming primary or the general election in November.

"We all saw the mechanical issues with the 2020 election," Kemp told supporters May 19 at a rally in Evans, Georgia. But he said he and Georgia state Sen. Max Burns took care of that with the Election Integrity Act of 2021 Kemp 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 of the electoral changes he's overseen since taking office in 2018.

Burns added that the revisions, which tightened rules by limiting drop boxes, strengthening voter identification requirements, and banning the distribution of food and water to voters waiting in line, ensure that "every legal vote counts. Period."

"All I can say to the skeptics is, go vote. Cast your ballot," Burns told Insider.

Perdue, who recent polling shows is down by 30 points with just days to go, gives Kemp some credit for curbing drop box locations and reining in the distribution of absentee ballots. But he insists there's plenty more to do.

"I've said that I want a full-on election law enforcement agency," Perdue told supporters May 20, adding that he's also for third-party audits of contested elections, and getting rid of the Dominion Voting Systems machines MAGA world baseless contends led to Trump's 2020 loss.

Kemp and Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger conducted a statewide audit and oversaw recounts of the more than 5 million votes Georgians cast in the 2020 presidential election. Trump has been working to punish them both ever since, pulling Perdue out of forced retirement to challenge Kemp, and backing Republican Rep. Jody Hice's campaign to knock off Raffensperger.

Trump has devoted the past year-and-a-half to sowing doubt about elections everywhere. He recently advised Pennsylvania Senate hopeful Mehmet Oz to "declare victory" in his too-close-to-call race with challenger David McCormick because it "makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they 'just happened to find.'" That race is likely headed to an automatic recount under Pennsylvania's 0.5-percentage point automatic recount threshold.

Burns said Kemp can handle Trump's revenge campaign. He's just hopeful losing MAGA candidates will go down honorably.

"When you're not successful, it hurts," Burns said. "But the reality is, the voters made their decision."

Read the original article on Business Insider