Greg Bluestein at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Four years ago, Brian Kemp went to a Cobb County GOP breakfast to launch his campaign for governor to a cheering crowd of supporters. A few weeks ago, the leaders of the county GOP voted to “censure” him for not meeting campaign promises.
The dramatic change highlights more than just the governor’s ongoing struggles with the Republican base after refusing Donald Trump’s entreaties to overturn the results of November’s presidential election. It’s also an example of how pro-Trump activists who emphasize loyalty to the former president have won control of party infrastructure and more influence across the state.
Those Trump-aligned activists showed up in record numbers at party gatherings this year, where they channeled anger over the former president’s defeat into efforts to take control of the machinery of local GOP organizations. That’s happened in at least a dozen counties across the state, including several in metro Atlanta and its exurbs.
It reflects a broader trend as Trump loyalists wage internal war on mainstream Republicans who long controlled the gears of power. Some were encouraged by former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s call to “take this back village by village” by seizing control of the GOP machinery from the ground up.
[Bobby Donnelly] had been part of a tea party faction that a decade ago tried to take over the Forsyth GOP and, by 2020, had mostly succeeded. It had wrested control of four of the county’s six executive committee posts. Donnelly had risen to become the party’s vice chair.
In 2021, Donnelly and the rest of the committee’s leaders were wiped out by newcomers motivated by Bannon and others to clean house.
“The funny thing is we were all pro-Trump. It’s a Trump civil war. It’s Trump versus Trump,” said Donnelly, who lost his bid to lead the county GOP.
“…people like Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, RNC Chairman Ronna McDaniel and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp are the most important allies in the conspiracy to steal our elections… These people hate you… There is no solution to this problem short of a Constitutional Convention.” pic.twitter.com/gPAwmEEzCv— Christian Vanderbrouk (@UrbanAchievr) October 13, 2021