Dec. 12—ALBANY — With two Republican heavyweights poised to battle for the party's nomination for governor next year, Dougherty County's Republican Party chairman is advising to strap in for a wild ride but keep the powder dry for the general election.
With former U.S. Sen. David Perdue entering the race last week against incumbent Gov. Bryan Kemp, Tracy Taylor said he expects a bruising intraparty feud.
"It's going to be very interesting," said Taylor, an Albany firefighter who also is a candidate himself, as he has declared as a candidate to seek a shot at Democratic U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop of Albany.
Perdue quickly earned the endorsement of former President Trump in the race. The former president criticized Kemp and, in a statement, said Kemp "caved to Stacey Abrams before the 2020 Election and allowed massive election fraud to take place."
The former president lost the state by some 11,779 votes in 2020, and Democrats also picked up two U.S. Senate seats during the election cycle.
Perdue has said he would not have certified those results.
While it is natural for voters to have a preference for one candidate or the other, Taylor said a big message is not to let the contest divide the party. He also credited Kemp with doing a good job of delivering on campaign promises.
"I like both men," he said. "I'm remaining neutral. People are entitled to their opinions, but I'm waiting for the policies they want to enact for Georgia and how they will address the economy.
"What policies do they want to implement for Georgia ... health care reform, criminal justice, economic and community development?"
Kemp also has done a good job delivering on his campaign promises, the Dougherty party chairman said.
Taylor encouraged Republicans to be ready to support the party's nominee when the dust settles to defeat Stacy Abrams, Kemp's Democratic opponent in 2018.
"I think we should find a way to come together," he said. "I think ultimately our people will unite over whoever comes out of the primary."