This Georgia primary election is a battleground for the heart and soul of the Republican Party in our state.

The May 24 primary has shaped up as the battle between traditional conservative Republicans and the populist, pro-Trump wing of the party.

Republican voters must decide where their true loyalties lie.

Gov. Brian Kemp, by all accounts the most traditional and conservative of Republicans, faces off against former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, endorsed by former president Donald Trump.

Kemp checks all the conservative boxes. He is a strong Second Amendment advocate and just signed a new law making it legal to carry a gun in Georgia without needing a permit. He has signed one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws. He is a champion of state’s rights and lower taxes.

Perdue, inexplicably, says Kemp is just pandering to voters. The record shows, however, that Brian Kemp is who Brian Kemp has always been.

But Kemp came under fire when he did not support Trump’s claim of a stolen 2020 presidential election and would not be an accomplice to the effort to overturn the election, circumventing the will of the voters.

Perdue, on the other hand, is a Trump loyalist who supports the unsubstantiated, baseless conspiracy theories of widespread voter fraud, purportedly costing Trump the presidency.

Voters must decide what they believe and who they believe.

The also-rans in the Republican Primary race for governor and secretary of state are irrelevant, none of them have a chance to move the needle.

It is either Kemp’s party or it will be Perdue’s.

Either Kemp or Perdue will face Democrat Stacey Abrams in the fall. There is no doubt where the Democrats stand or whose party it is.

In many ways, the race for secretary of state mirrors the governor’s race.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger also drew the ire of Trump and his supporters, when he stood up to unprecedented pressure from the former president and stood by the integrity of the Georgia election which was counted, recounted, audited, investigated and verified to have been accurate.

He faces Jody Hice, another Trump-endorsed candidate with the former president clearly targeting those he views as his political enemies, or who are, at the very least, less than loyal to him.

Again, the question is: Will Georgia Republicans be loyal to their conservative, traditional principles or loyal to a man?

The U.S. Senate Republican Primary is a showdown between Trump’s hand-picked candidate Herschel Walker and a man the people of Georgia know very well, another traditional conservative, Gary Black. Which way will the party go? There is no doubt where the Democratic Party stands, it is squarely behind Sen. Raphael Warnock who will face either Black or Trump’s candidate, Walker.

We encourage Republicans to think long and hard about their values, beliefs, positions — and the party’s ability to win in the fall — before casting a vote in the May 24 primary. Early voting starts May 2.

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