Trump's upcoming rally likely to highlight tension among Georgia Republicans
President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Tulsa (screengrab)

Former President Donald Trump will be in Georgia later this month for a rally in Perry. The Sept. 25 event is likely to drum up drama in the state’s Republican Party.

Trump’s hold on the state’s GOP hasn’t wavered since the 2020 election. After his loss to Joe Biden by fewer than 12,000 votes, he pledged he would be back in Georgia to push his own political agenda.

Trump has continued to hammer Gov. Brian Kemp any chance he gets. In Trump’s view, the Georgia governor should’ve done more to overturn the election results.

Trump’s early endorsement of now Senate candidate Herschel Walker froze the state party’s pool of potential primary candidates to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock for months before Walker actually got in the race.

Now, statewide races have begun to fill with pro-Trump primary candidates, an indication of a brewing battle within the party between those who are loyal to the former president and those who are not loyal enough.

Top state officials such as Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger are political targets of the former president, who has promised to use his power to get them voted out of office.

While most of the criticism of Trump’s hold on the party takes place behind closed doors, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, another Georgia Republican who has drawn the ire of Trump, has become an outspoken advocate for conservative Republicans to take the party in a far different direction.

In his new book, GOP 2.0, Duncan lays out a new vision for the party — a move, he says, is key for Republicans moving forward.

“There's a lot of things we learned about the last four years — that an outsider, kind of business-minded person, could get quick change in Washington, D.C.,” Duncan told Georgia Public Broadcasting during an interview last month. "But the approach was unelectable going forward."

“We want to continue to hone those policies that make sense to a majority of Americans,” he added. “And I think we need to do all that with a better tone and one that encourages people instead of discourages people.”

Some Republicans are concerned that extreme pro-Trump candidates like Walker, one of the most legendary football players to ever don the red and black at the University of Georgia, will drive away grassroots voters. The state party saw firsthand the negative impact of Trump’s false claims of election fraud on turnout for the runoffs for former U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

Many are choosing to rally behind a different primary candidate.

A prominent figure in rural Georgia, three-term agriculture commissioner Gary Black has won a wide range of endorsements from local sheriffs to former Gov. Nathan Deal and even former U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a die-hard Trump supporter.

Details are still slim on the speaker lineup for the upcoming rally in Perry, but it will likely paint a clearer picture of the Georgia Republicans who still fall in line behind Trump and party members who don’t.

This story comes to Raw Story through a reporting partnership with GPB News, a non-profit newsroom covering the state of Georgia