In The Wall Street Journal, Scott Westcott downplays the power of Ron DeSantis’s win in Florida and suggests another GOP alternative to Donald Trump. Westcott’s suggestion for Republicans is Governor Brian Kemp, who recently won Georgia, which has turned into a very competitive state, by a decent margin. Westcott, a Democrat, writes:
In their frenzied rush to declare Gov. Ron DeSantis the new standard-bearer for the Republican Party, political pundits passed over the more logical choice: Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia.
Mr. DeSantis’s re-election margin was wider, but Florida is a red state and its Democratic Party is a shambles. Charlie Crist was a weak opponent, and the Sunshine State’s U.S. Senate race was barely competitive. Goofy could have won the Florida governorship if he switched parties and put “R., Magic Kingdom” after his name.
Georgia, by contrast, is a true swing state. Joe Biden narrowly carried it in 2020, and two Democrats beat Republican incumbents. The state is competitive thanks in no small part to the efforts of Stacey Abrams, who built one of America’s most formidable Democratic get-out-the-vote machines. That makes Mr. Kemp’s decisive victory over Ms. Abrams all the more notable—especially given that the re-elected Republican was at the top of Donald Trump’s dead-to-me list.
I live in Pennsylvania, but I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Georgia over the past year. I got the impression—even from folks who had no intention of voting for him—that Mr. Kemp is the kind of guy you wouldn’t mind having a beer with. And like Mr. DeSantis, he kept businesses and schools open during the pandemic.
If Mr. Kemp got the nomination, you could paint Georgia red. He’d almost certainly carry North Carolina and maybe even Virginia. He’s the type of Republican to which Pennsylvanians have traditionally warmed. He’s bland and pragmatic enough to appeal to Wisconsin and Minnesota residents. He’d surely generate solid support from rural America, and I suspect suburban moms and dads would like him too.
As a Democrat who has worked on a few congressional campaigns, I take no joy in laying out these meatball-size bread crumbs to what passes for today’s GOP brain trust. But I think a Kemp-Biden race could be good for America. It wouldn’t be exciting, but after the soul-sucking chaos of the past few election cycles, that’s nothing to complain about.
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