Even before his defeat in Georgia, Donald Trump had made it clear that his revenge campaign against Republican Brian Kemp would not end after the primary.
He doesn't think Kemp can beat Democrat Stacey Abrams, the former president said in a virtual campaign event for David Perdue, who wanted to challenge Kemp's Republican nomination for governor.
"Too many people in the Republican Party will refuse to vote," Trump predicted, looking ahead to Election Day in November.
Political correspondent for North America based in Washington.
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Trump had already come to terms with the defeat of the candidate Perdue, who he supported.
The polls were confirmed on Tuesday evening: incumbent Kemp clearly prevailed against Perdue.
All attempts by Trump to punish Kemp for his behavior after the 2020 presidential election had failed.
Perdue, who lost his Senate seat in Georgia at the time, had been encouraged by Trump to run against Kemp for failing to do the ousted president the favor of "finding" the few thousand electoral votes needed to get the Southern state still ahead of Joe Biden.
Pence spoke early on in favor of Kemp's re-election
But the vast majority of Republicans didn't want to hear any more of Trump's "Big Lie," the big lie about election fraud.
Instead, they listened to another voice in the party: Mike Pence, the former vice president, had advocated Kemp's re-election early on.
On Monday he had traveled to Georgia and called out to the governor's supporters: With a vote for Kemp, you were sending an unmistakable message to the whole country: "The Republican Party is the party of the future."
This is the formula put out by Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate minority leader and Trump's key opponent in the party: Don't look back at the 2020 election year and Trump's vote-rigging narrative, but look ahead.
Pence's appearance was a declaration of war on Trump.
The evangelical conservative is currently preparing his candidacy for 2024.
Of course, he has not yet officially declared this.
It is also unclear whether he would run against Trump.
Perdue lost so badly that he had no hesitation in admitting defeat and pledging to support Kemp in the fall's general election campaign.
They will ensure that Abrams does not become governor.
The Democratic frontwoman, who lost to Kemp in the 2018 gubernatorial election, has been working for years to modernize her party and mobilize Georgia's African-American electorate.
It was not least thanks to their commitment that Trump and the then Senator Perdue failed in 2020.
Trump also threatened another defeat: In addition to Kemp, Brad Raffensperger, the state secretary of the interior who oversees Georgia's elections, was ahead in his candidacy against a challenger backed by the former president.
Raffensperger was personally pressured by Trump in 2020 to award him the Georgia electorate – and he steadfastly refused.
After counting more than 90 percent of the votes, Raffensperger was just over 50 percent on Wednesday night - a hurdle he had to take to avoid a runoff election.
Walker didn't just have Trump's support
But there were other signals Tuesday in Georgia.
Trump was connected by phone to Herschel Walker's election party that evening, who won the Republican nomination for the Senate seat.
The former president obviously wanted to make people forget his defeats and demonstrate the weight of a Trump election recommendation in the party.
Of course, things weren't that simple.
Trump had called for the former football player to be elected.
But Walker also had McConnell's support.
Other candidates had to serve as proof of Trump's influence in the party: MP Marjorie Taylor Greene, for example, easily won the nomination in her congressional district in Georgia.
The supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory, who was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2020, is one of the weirdest and most controversial figures on Capitol Hill and, at the same time, leads Trump's Praetorian Guard in Washington.
If the Republicans win the congressional elections in November and Kevin McCarthy becomes the new "speaker" of the House of Representatives, the Trumpists around Taylor Greene have the task of putting him on a leash.
In the Senate, Trump also wants to ensure that McConnell is removed.
From Mar-a-Lago he wants to lead the congressional factions and thus prepare his election campaign for 2024.
The Georgia primary shows that Republicans are not yet sure whether they want to support this plan.Keywords: