Former President Donald Trump will speak at the 2023 Georgia Republican Party State Convention next month.
The event is June 10 at 2:30 p.m. at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center.
Georgia has become a key battleground state. It and its 16 electoral votes went for President Joe Biden in 2020, despite Trump winning the Peach State by more than 5 percentage points in 2016. Since then, Georgia has twice elected Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, and the state elected U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff in a close Special Election. Ossoff’s staying power will be tested when he’s up for re-election in 2026.
Trump may be looking ahead toward next November, rather than the upcoming Presidential Primary season, though, as Georgia’s Primary isn’t until March 24, one week after Super Tuesday. By then, the GOP nomination field may well be cleared.
In 2016, the year Trump won the presidency against Hillary Clinton, Super Tuesday was March 1. By then, 12 candidates had already left the race. Ben Carson exited three days later and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio exited the race two weeks later.
Of the two remaining candidates at that point — Ted Cruz an John Kasich — only Cruz had any chance of catching Trump, and even still, the writing was on the wall that Trump would become the GOP nominee in mid- to late-March.
In 2020, the year President Biden was elected, Super Tuesday was on March 3. Biden became the presumptive nominee about a month later, on April 8, but plenty of candidates jumped out of the race before then, including Mike Bloomberg, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang and several others.
Trump’s Georgia appearance may also be a snub to the state’s justice system. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the Georgia prosecutor leading an investigation into Trump and his allies regarding election interference in the state, has signaled that charges in the inquiry, including a possible Trump indictment, may come in August.
It’s also a presumptive move to rally support among Georgia Republicans. Even as Trump significantly leads in most polls of the current GOP field of presidential candidates, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been polling competitively in Georgia.
A Public Opinion Strategies survey earlier this month showed only DeSantis could beat Biden in Georgia, though it’s worth noting the survey came from a DeSantis-friendly firm. Another poll, from Landmark Communications, showed DeSantis trailing Trump by just 8 percentage points in Georgia, much closer than the double digit leads Trump holds in many other states.
The announcement of Trump’s visit in Georgia also comes after DeSantis landed his first major endorsement in Georgia, from U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick.
DeSantis officially entered the race Wednesday, though he’s been expected to throw his name in the hat for months and is considered Trump’s top competition so far.
Since DeSantis’ announcement Wednesday, which included a botched rollout on Twitter Spaces with Elon Musk, the feud between the two Republicans has gotten heated, with DeSantis finally unleashing his war room, led by DeSantis’ rapid response director Christina Pushaw.