Ahead of Georgia primary, RNC chairwoman calls on Republicans to unite

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WASHINGTON – Days ahead of the Georgia gubernatorial primary that has former President Donald Trump endorsing former Sen. David Perdue, and former Vice President Mike Pence endorsing Gov. Brian Kemp, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel wants to keep the party united and says the focus must be "on defeating the Democrats."

"Remember what the real goal is, and that is us uniting as a party to defeat the Democrats and take back the Senate and the House," McDaniel said on Fox News Sunday.

"The American people are truly suffering. And we have a vacuum of leadership," she said.

Kemp leads Perdue by 32 percentage points, a poll published by Fox News on Wednesday showed. The poll also shows that 60% of Georgia Republicans support Kemp, compared to 28% supporting Perdue.

Pence rallies with Kemp: Defying Trump, Mike Pence will rally in Georgia for Republican Gov. Brian Kemp's reelection bid

Trump has targeted Kemp throughout the midterm race in Georgia mainly because Kemp refused to acknowledge Trump's false claims that the 2020 election results were not legitimate.

Pence will rally for Kemp on Monday, the day before the primary. Pence, who said he'd support the governor late last week, called him

"one of the most successful conservative governors in America" in a statement.

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., addresses a campaign rally on Dec. 21, 2020, in Milton, Ga.
Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., addresses a campaign rally on Dec. 21, 2020, in Milton, Ga.

Trumpism is here to stay: Trumpism is here to stay in Georgia no matter what happens during Tuesday's primaries

Kemp can still win even without Trump's support. University of Georgia Professor Charles Bullock told USA TODAY that Trump's endorsement "really doesn't make much of a difference in the governor's race because Brian Kemp is well-known."

When asked whether it was a mistake for the former president to persuade Perdue to run for governor, McDaniel said Perdue is "perfectly capable of making his own decisions."

McDaniel also refused to say whether Trump endorsing Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania's Republican Senate primary was the right decision. Instead, she kept the focus on Republicans supporting each other in key races.

Trump asked Oz to declare a win in the battleground state against businessman David McCormick, although the race remained uncalled Sunday. Oz and McCormick were separated by less than one percentage point, the race is likely headed for a recount.

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Contributing: Mabinty Quarshie, Ella Lee

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Republicans must unite, RNC's McDaniel says ahead of Georgia primary

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