EXCLUSIVE: Kelvin King says the Republican Party’s at a crossroads.
“We have to decide right now if we’re going to be knocked down or knocked out,” the GOP Senate candidate in Georgia told Fox News in an interview. “Personally, I’m ready to take back the state and fight for our future and the future of our country.”
Last week King, the owner of an Atlanta-area construction company, became the first Republican candidate to launch a 2022 challenge against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, whom the GOP sees as one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats up for reelection next year.
King, a military veteran and one of the most prominent Black supporters in Georgia last year of then-President Trump’s reelection campaign, is emphasizing his fight against so-called “cancel culture” during the initial days of his Senate bid.
“We have these career politicians and woke corporations and even this overall cancel culture, they’re all empowered while our families and small businesses and people like us are just left to pay the price,” King charged. “It’s just not right. Frankly, we need to un-cancel America and be proud of who we are.”
King, who was born to a teenage mother and raised in a single-parent home, graduated from the United States Air Force Academy, where he was an all-conference football player. He served five years in the Air Force as a contracting officer, rising to the rank of captain. After leaving the military, he became the general manager of an international construction firm before starting his own company, which has twice been praised for its growth by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
“I was born and raised here in Georgia….I’m a product of the American dream. That’s what we’re looking for right now. I’m a great representation of that and I want to make sure that future generations have that same opportunity,” he emphasized. “I believe that this message will resonate with the people of Georgia.”
The Democrats’ sweep in Georgia’s twin Jan. 5 Senate runoff elections – Warnock’s victory over appointed GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff’s defeat of Republican incumbent Sen. David Perdue – put the Democrats over the top in their bid to regain the Senate majority, which the GOP captured in 2014.
While Ossoff won a full six-year Senate term, Warnock is serving the final two years of retired GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term. Republicans need a net gain of just one seat to regain the Senate majority in the 2022 midterm elections, and Warnock is one of the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s top targets.
Asked about Warnock, King said in his interview Tuesday with Fox News, “I think what Georgia is looking for is someone who is not to the extreme.”
“His policy positions, they’re very left-leaning and he just doesn’t have our values. In Georgia we value life, we value the Second Amendment. And there’s nothing that comes out of Sen. Warnock that speaks towards that….he’s not really in lockstep with Georgia,” King said as he tied the incumbent senator to President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Last week Warnock unveiled some eye-popping fundraising figures, announcing he has raised more than $5.7 million from more than 100,000 supporters since his Jan. 5 election, with roughly $5.6 million in his coffers.
The Senate race in Georgia is likely to be one of the most competitive and expensive showdowns in the 2022 midterms. National Republicans have already launched ads targeting Warnock.
A confident King said, “We have no doubt that we can raise the money that’s needed for this race.”
King, who’s married to conservative pundit and operative Janelle King, was one of Trump’s most prominent Black supporters in Georgia and a featured speaker at the then-president’s campaign events in the Peach State during the 2020 general election campaign.
“I was supporter of President Trump and we have reached to people around the president and we do hope to earn his support going forward,” King said.
Biden edged Trump in Georgia by less than 12,000 votes in the November election, becoming the first Democrat to carry the state in the White House race in over a quarter-century.
The ballots in Georgia were counted three times — the original Election Day count, a mandatory hand recount and a recount requested by Trump’s campaign.
Trump refused to concede to Biden and claimed for two months that there was massive voter fraud in Georgia and five other states where Biden narrowly won. Dozens of legal challenges by Trump and his allies were shot down, and then-Attorney General William Barr said his Justice Department did not see fraud on the kind of scale that could flip the election. Trump continues to claim without providing proof that the election was “rigged” and “stolen.”
Asked about Trump’s unfounded claims, King said, “I think there are a lot of disenchanted voters here in Georgia, a lot of distrust, rightfully so. I don’t know what happened in terms of improprieties, but a lot of people in the state feel that way and they deserve to be heard.”
He added that he’s “a fan” of Georgia’s new controversial voting law, which he argued “will restore voter integrity in the state, and I think that that bill will serve its purpose and will re-encourage people to go out and vote.”
A couple of days after King announced his candidacy, military veteran and businessman Latham Saddler became the second Republican contender to launch a Senate campaign.
Loeffler has left the door open to a rematch with Warnock, and former Rep. Doug Collins, who ran in last year’s special Senate election and came in third behind Warnock and Loeffler in the November contest, is also mulling a Republican challenge.
Herschel Walker, the former star college and professional football player whom Trump has encouraged to run, said in a Fox News interview earlier this month that he’s considering a bid.
King highlighted that regardless of what other candidates potentially enter the race, he’s “definitely in this for the long haul. There’s been lots of rumors but we can’t base our campaign off of rumors. We’re focused on running our race.”