In Georgia, Kemp Plots Role as GOP Kingmaker

Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks at a campaign event on September 27, 2022. Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

Happy Friday! We hope you’ve enjoyed Act I of the 2024 Republican presidential primaries—the field is expected to get a lot bigger next week, with official entrances into the race reportedly on tap for South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott on Monday and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday. The more the merrier!

Up to Speed

  • Tim Scott is expected to announce his presidential campaign on Monday at an event in his hometown of North Charleston, South Carolina. Scott notched one significant endorsement this week ahead of the event: Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota, who told the Washington Examiner Scott is “the closest to Ronald Reagan that you’re going to see.”
  • Ron DeSantis, meanwhile, is expected to file presidential campaign paperwork and meet with donors in Miami on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal first reported, although a public kickoff event is not expected to take place until later in the month.
  • North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is also likely to seek the Republican presidential nomination, CBS News reported Thursday. Burgum, a wealthy businessman before entering politics, founded a software company that grew into a billion-dollar business and was eventually acquired by Microsoft. The Dispatch confirmed the news Thursday with a GOP source who is familiar with Burgum’s plans. This source indicated the governor would invest a significant amount of his personal fortune in any White House bid. 
  • Disney announced this week it is canceling a $1 billion office relocation to Florida amid the company’s ongoing feud with Ron DeSantis. “Given the company’s financial straits, falling market cap and declining stock price, it is unsurprising that they would restructure their business operations and cancel unsuccessful ventures,” a DeSantis spokesman said.
  • The House Ethics Committee will continue its investigation into Rep. George Santos despite his recent federal criminal indictment for alleged fraud and money laundering, Punchbowl News reported Thursday. The committee has often stood aside to make way for the Justice Department when criminal charges enter the equation, but lawmakers say plenty of Santos’ alleged behavior merits investigation even beyond what the feds are looking into.
  • Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s long-awaited return to the Senate after a months-long bout of shingles has not quieted speculation that she is no longer fit to serve. The plainly frail senator has appeared disoriented and confused as she is carted to and from votes in a wheelchair, and even some longtime allies are beginning to say publicly that she should step down before her term is up in 2025—a position Feinstein continues to flatly reject.

Gov. Brian Kemp Beefs Up Georgia Ground Game Ahead of 2024

A federal super PAC aligned with Gov. Brian Kemp plans to oversee a robust voter turnout operation in Georgia for the eventual Republican presidential nominee, The Dispatch has learned.

The group, Hardworking Americans, Inc., is planning to deploy grassroots organizers, door knocking and other ground-game activities, as well as fund paid advertising, on behalf of the GOP’s 2024 nominee. A Kemp adviser emphasized the governor might also put his political machine to work for a candidate in the primary, which will take place March 12 of next year.

The ground-game plans are part of Kemp’s broader effort, dating back to last year’s midterm elections, to re-create the functions of the state Republican Party, which has attached itself to former President Donald Trump and struggled to fundraise in recent cycles. 

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