By BEN NADLER

ATLANTA (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence is set to attend a rally in Macon, Georgia, Saturday to support Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s bid for governor, days before the contentious GOP runoff is decided.

The White House confirmed the news to The Associated Press on Thursday, one day after President Donald Trump tweeted his “full and total endorsement” for Kemp in the runoff against Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

“Brian is tough on crime, strong on the border and illegal immigration. He loves our Military and our Vets and protects our Second Amendment,” Trump wrote.

Both Cagle and Kemp have tried to tie themselves to Trump in television ads and in stump speeches, but Kemp has found success positioning himself as an outsider and a “politically incorrect conservative.”  In one television ad, Kemp says “I got a big truck — just in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take ’em home myself.”

The runoff, which will be decided Tuesday, has seen major Republican endorsements go to both candidates.

Cagle earlier this week received the backing of Gov. Nathan Deal, who said that Cagle was the best person to continue progress he made as governor and pointed to economic development projects they had partnered on. Cagle has also received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association, while Kemp has been backed by former state Sen. Hunter Hill, who finished third in the GOP primary election in May.

Pence has made multiple appearances in Georgia in recent months, attending a St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Savannah and headlining a March event in Atlanta to plug recent federal tax cuts.

The winner of the runoff faces Democrat Stacey Abrams in November.

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Associated Press writer Ken Thomas in Washington contributed to this report.

 

 

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