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CNN

Former Vice President Mike Pence asked Georgians to vote – and pray – for Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, along with his family and “all that they’ve endured” while speaking at a rally Tuesday in Cumming, Georgia, just days before Election Day.

Pence stood alongside Kemp, whom former President Donald Trump sought to unseat earlier this year in a Republican primary, and praised the incumbent “as singularly one of the most successful conservative governors in the United States of America.”

“I want to encourage you, if you’re inclined to bow the head and bend the knee from time to time, the next six-and-a-half days would be a good time to do it,” Pence said. “I want to encourage you to pray for this good family. Pray for all that they’ve endured for you to make Georgia more prosperous and more secure.”

While Trump did everything in his power to see Kemp denied the Republican nomination for a second term, in an act of political vengeance following Kemp’s refusal to validate his lies about voter fraud in Georgia two years ago, Pence made a robust case for Kemp’s re-election.

Pence noted his support for Kemp during a hotly contested 2018 GOP primary, saying he was “for Brian Kemp before it was cool,” and praised the governor for advancing the “very same agenda” in Georgia that the Trump administration pursued for the country.

Asked after his remarks whether a Kemp victory would provide a “blueprint” for other Republicans going forward, Pence didn’t bite, telling reporters he was “completely focused on 2022” and that Kemp has “struck a deep chord with the people of this state.”

When Pence was pressed on which candidates he would campaign for, Pence – without naming Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker – said he backed the GOP’s whole state slate.

“I’m supporting the whole ticket here in Georgia, but I’m here for Gov. Brian Kemp today,” Pence said. “We probably had no greater partner for economic growth, for law and order, or for our values, during our time in the White House. 

Pence also repeatedly praised Kemp’s decision to reopen businesses during early months of the Covid-19 pandemic in late April 2020. 

“Georgia was the first state in America to open up again, and Brian Kemp led the way,” Pence said to applause. But that decision was, at the time, panned even by Trump, who told reporters then that he disagreed with the move, saying it was coming “just too soon” — and told Kemp as much.

In his own remarks, Kemp talked up his decision, saying “Georgians are not going to sit in their basement, lose everything they got, because of a virus,” and arguing that the move helped seed the state’s current economic growth.

Pence also defended Georgia’s new voting laws, passed in 2021, which added restrictions to the ballot, making it more difficult to vote absentee, while also increasing the overall number of days for early voting. Turnout has, so far, been robust, beating some state records. 

Both Kemp and Pence railed against Abrams in their remarks, describing her as too liberal for Georgia and criticizing her support for certain criminal justice reform measures.

“Talk to your neighbors and friends across the backyard fence, your coworkers, email your family members around the state, tweet if you must,” Pence deadpanned, as Kemp chuckled behind him. “Tell somebody about Brian Kemp.”

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