Five candidates are running in the Republican primary for governor of Georgia on May 24, 2022. Two candidates—incumbent Brian Kemp and David Perdue—have led the field in fundraising and media coverage. A candidate must receive more than 50% of the vote to advance to the general election. If no candidate wins the majority, a runoff election will take place on June 21 between the top two vote-getters.
Kemp was elected governor in 2018 when he defeated Stacey Abrams (D) 50% to 48%. Before that, he served as Georgia’s secretary of state from 2010 to 2018 and in the Georgia State Senate from 2003 to 2007. In a debate, Kemp said, “Every day that I’ve been in office, I’ve been putting hardworking Georgians first, ahead of the status quo and the politically correct. And I’m going to continue to do that the rest of my tenure.”
Perdue served in the U.S. Senate from 2015 to 2021. He lost a 2021 runoff election to Jon Ossoff (D) 50% to 49%. He works as a founding partner of Perdue Partners, a global trading company. In a debate, Perdue said, “I think the decision in this race is very simple. Our governor failed us, he sold us out, and he’s divided us. I just don’t think he can win.” Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Perdue.
The 2020 election results have been a subject of debate among the candidates. During an April 24 debate, Perdue said Kemp did not do enough to investigate election fraud claims, saying, “[Kemp] would not stop the consent decree that was signed, he would not give us a special session. And this past year he’s not investigated anything. […] If he were a Democrat, even his strongest supporters would be calling this a gross corrupt cover-up.” Kemp responded, saying, “The investigative authority per the laws and the constitution of this state in 2020 lies with the secretary of state’s office and the state elections board. Now, we have had things that have been given to our office that we’ve looked into and when we thought they had merit we referred them to the proper authorities to investigate.”
Catherine Davis, Kandiss Taylor, and Tom Williams are also running in the primary.
A Republican has held Georgia’s governorship since the 2002 elections, which was also the last time an incumbent governor lost in the state. As of May 2022, The Cook Political Report and Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball rated the 2022 general election as a toss-up. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rated the race as Tilt Republican.