It’s been a week since incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp won the Republican gubernatorial primary in Georgia with a commanding 74 percent of the vote — but Donald Trump loyalist Kandiss Taylor, who finished in third place, still hasn’t formally conceded.
Taylor, a far right Christian nationalist who ran on a conspiracy theory-ridden platform challenging the so-called “Luciferian Cabal” of supposed elites in the government, received only 3.4 percent of the votes, losing to Kemp by an over 70-point margin and trailing behind runner-up David Perdue by over 18 points.
The race had been called for Kemp on the night of the primary last Tuesday. Perdue was the Trump-endorsed candidate and the only Republican gubernatorial candidate who stood any chance of unseating Kemp in this year’s race. He called Kemp to concede last Tuesday night as official sources called the race.
In statements days after the race was called, Taylor said that she would never concede the race and claimed that it was “rigged” against her without evidence. “We have a national data team working on the 2022 primary election fraud. More will be forthcoming,” spokesperson Christi Maude told The Daily Beast. “Dr. Kandiss Taylor does not concede.” (Taylor tweeted on Monday that she was “wrong” and that her opponents “were not too scared to cheat,” but it’s unclear if this was meant as a concession.)
Taylor also said in a press release that the incumbent GOP governor, secretary of state and attorney general, as well as voting rights activist and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, have waged a “corrupt, organized, [and] willful assault” on elections. Notably, Abrams has not served as a lawmaker for five years. The incumbent Republicans had refused to overturn the state’s election results for Trump in 2020, but still supported the passage of their party’s sweeping voter suppression laws in the state.
During her campaign, Taylor embedded herself with some of the most extreme Trump allies that have peddled the former president’s “Big Lie,” rallying with people like MyPillow founder Mike Lindell and QAnon supporter Lauren Witzke. She has said that, if elected, she would make it so that corrupt state officials would be subject to “death by firing squad” if they aren’t loyal enough to the GOP.
Her “Jesus Guns Babies” campaign slogan was the subject of much ridicule, and a major plank of her platform was to demolish a set of large rock slabs in northern Georgia that she claims are a symbol of Satanism; though her platform may seem nonsensical, her rhetoric has clear ties to a dangerous far right Christian nationalist ideology that’s surging among Republican candidates across the country.
Taylor’s refusal to concede is likely influenced by Trump’s refusal to ever formally concede the 2020 presidential election, though he and his team have since acknowledged the loss in vague terms. That’s opened the door for Republicans like Taylor to still maintain that Trump won the election, regardless of the reality that President Joe Biden won the election and has been serving as president for over a year now.
Indeed, over the past years, Trump has popularized a strategy among Republicans of not conceding a race, even when the loss is to another member of the party. Though not conceding doesn’t carry official consequences — in this case, Kemp will go on to face Abrams on the ballot this fall — the strategy is part of the right’s overall plan to delegitimize the election process in the U.S.