During a special runoff election in 2021, radical Democrat Raphael Warnock won a Senate seat in the state of Georgia.
Warnock defeated Republican Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed after former Senator Johnny Isakson resigned with three years left in his term. Because of this turnover, Warnock will face another Republican opponent in November 2022.
One possible Republican challenger to Warnock is businessman Kelvin King, who announced his candidacy in April.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with King about numerous issues, including Raphael Warnock, abortion, bringing Democrats to the Republican Party, national security, election integrity, and much more.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your background and why you decided to jump into politics now?
KING: Yeah, sure. My background, well, I’m born and raised here in Georgia. I’m an Air Force Academy graduate. I served in the U.S. Air Force after graduation as a Contracting Officer or a Procurement Officer. So, my job was to actually buy things, to spend the government’s money. I was Officer of the Year, I did well in the Air Force, but I wanted to go into corporate America. So, after my five year term in Air Force, I went into corporate America for about ten years and decided that, hey, I wanted a piece of the American dream in terms of entrepreneurship. And I started my own construction company about nine years ago from scratch in a bedroom in my home. And I grew it out of my basement. And now I own a building over near Atlanta Braves stadium. So that’s my business background, and I’ve been involved with the Republican Party for the last couple of years, several years actually.
And we saw this Senate race, and I was actually involved with our prior two senators’ races. So too my wife, we both were involved with their races, and we didn’t see anyone that we actually had confidence in that could win this seat. We thought this is a unique race. We saw the Loeffler/Warnock race from the inside, and we know the strategy and tactics, and we felt that the candidate that could win needed certain attributes — and I possessed all of them. They needed to be born and raised in Georgia; they needed to be a military veteran. They needed to be a business owner or someone with a high degree of business acumen. And we thought that someone who could win votes in the rural and urban communities would be [the] ideal candidate. And frankly, a minority, a black candidate would make sense in this race, not because of identity politics at all, but because we can take off those typical attacks, we can take them off the table, and we can talk to issues. If we can disarm Warnock, and we can talk issues, we are in a much better position to win back this U.S. Senate seat.
And I checked off all those boxes, plus my wife is very effective in the state, in terms of our political party. She’s been involved with the party for over a decade, and she’s in media as a Republican commentator. And together, we’re just a unique team, and we decided to jump in because we knew we could win this race.
Q: There are multiple candidates already in the primary, including arguably the most high profile in Herschel Walker. What makes you the best can candidate to take on Warnock as opposed to any of the other several who are in the race already?
KING: Yeah, there are a few, there are a handful of candidates in this race, and Herschel Walker is in the race as well. There’s no secret that Mr. Walker has name recognition and the Trump endorsement; he has a close relationship with President Trump. But we evaluated that, that was in our calculus, him entering the race. In fact, I’m close to President Trump as well. I respect the president for backing Mr. Walker. And I’ve spoken on stage with President Trump several times, but at the end of the day, I believe that when you remove the personal relationships and the emotions from the equation, I’m the best candidate and best equipped to defeat Warnock. Based on my background — I started my company. I have my own business that I started from scratch, and my life has been built around Georgia and within Georgia. I’ve served my country. I have substantial business contacts and experience throughout the state of Georgia. And I’m the most accessible candidate that’s out here. I’ve built my campaign around direct voter contact. Mr. Walker has already skipped a candidate forum and several major events. We’ll see if that trend continues, but at the end of the day, if you can’t face the Georgia primary voter, how will you be able to focus or face Senator Warnock?
Q: Coming from the business world, what do you see as the greatest governmental threat to business?
KING: Well, I think government overreach clearly is the number one threat to business. I do believe in our government, but I believe our government should be minimal when it comes business interaction. I think we should push the government back. I think these regulatory movements that the Biden administration is putting undue strain and pressure on our business community, specifically the small business community. When government wholesalely shuts down our economic industry, our entire U.S. economy, due to the COVID virus, and then piecemeal brings things back together or opens things back up, that’s going to create a glut within the supply chain or disruption in the supply chain; it’s going to send businesses away for good.
It’s been hurting our small businesses in terms of being able to find employees and competing with salaries with the federal government. The federal government has, through policy, created the single most disruptive event in our nation’s history. And we need candidates, or senators, in seats that understand how government and business can coexist. And that’s what I bring to this table. So I think that has been the major challenge when it comes to business in the United States.
Q: Continuing on in the business world. What is your position on vaccine or mask mandates? I know a lot of the mandates are being stalled in court right now, the private sector mandate is being stalled. What would you do about them assuming these mandates continue or continue to be pushed into 2023?
KING: Right. I look at it as a freedom and a liberty issue. I think the best question to ask is how willing are the American people, how willing are we to give up our fundamental freedoms and liberties in exchange for a temporary form of security? I think that was a quote from Benjamin Franklin. Anyone who’s willing to do that doesn’t deserve freedom nor security. I don’t think the government should force or mandate vaccines at all. I think that the government should stay away from putting foreign chemicals inside of people. That is not in line with our Constitution. It’s not in line with our Founding Fathers. I think that if we have a vaccine like we have now, that it’s great to have a choice to take it or not. I was a big fan of Operation Warp Speed, and we did a great job of getting a vaccine available for the public to use.
But in terms of making decisions or health decisions, that’s within the individual, that’s the beauty of living in America. That’s the beauty of freedom. There is a degree of risk that comes with freedom, but mandating a foreign substance inside of someone’s body is un-American to me. And it should never be mandated.
Q: You’ve noted that you like the Georgia election law. Is there further policy that you’d like to see regarding election integrity? Specifically, I guess, in the state.
KING: Well, yeah. In the state of Georgia. Yeah. Last November, a lot of Georgians, I would say the majority of our population, was very concerned about how our elections transpired. I was very concerned about some of the irregularities that’s been reported. I think a lot of that was really with the absentee ballot process. And I believe SB202, which is our Georgia voting law that was passed by our state legislature and signed into law by our governor, Kemp, I think that goes a long way into stabilizing our voting process and increasing our voter confidence by limiting absentee ballot requests from outside organizations. Now, you can only request them from the Secretary of State’s office with a valid ID.
We’ve now reigned in the controls around our drop boxes, where they were scattered across a lot of metropolitan areas. Now, they’re secure and monitored as our state rules require. So, I feel much more confident with our current SB202 voting bill. And I think that our voting process, I think it’s proven that it works. We’ve had two elections since the deal was in place. And I don’t think there’s been any large concerns or problems within the election process. So, I’m hopeful for next year.
Q: We’ve heard a lot over the last several years about the dangers of Big Tech. There have been a lot of hearings during which Republicans and Democrats do a lot of speaking, but not much seems to be done. There are some people who want to eliminate Section 230, others who want to change it. There are others who think anti-trust, breaking up the companies like Facebook, is the answer. What are your thoughts if you were to go into the Senate on how you might help to pursue Big Tech censorship?
KING: Well, one of my platform items really is to make sure that our constitutional rights are protected. And within that is our First Amendment right, which includes our freedom of speech. I do know, not just think, I do know that Big Tech has censored a portion of our population in our country. And the strange thing about it is that it appears that the conservative voice is the only voice that’s being censored on a wide scale. And the that’s not right. That’s not okay. Whenever you have a situation where Big Tech is colluding with the Biden administration, with a political effort to censor or mute a voice of a large segment of our population, that is wrong. That is a violation of our constitutional rights.
And I believe within Section 230, the protections for the private entity should be stripped when they function as an arm of the government, specifically when it’s a political move to suppress a segment of our population. So, that’s the area that I would really push toward. And that is where Big Tech colludes with the Biden administration to censor the conservative voice, that their private entity protection should be stripped and they should be open for recourse by the people that they’re censoring.
Q: Looking abroad, with China’s development of hypersonic tech and our own forces seeming more focused on diversity and inclusion agendas, do you think there’s any particular legislation that you would push to make the United States more competitive with a growing China threat?
KING: Yeah, I really think we’ve taken our eye off the ball, specifically when it comes to our global threat in China. China is a global threat. China is a threat to our allies, a threat to our country, and our military right now is in a position of, I guess, I’m concerned about the position of our military. You see our generals focused on social justice warring versus enhancing the war fighting and our war fighting ability. You see that China has taken a lead when it comes to technology and deployment of their nuclear arsenal with the hypersonic missile. It’s baffled our generals. We’re playing catch up right now. That’s not a place that America typically operates from. We don’t operate from a positioning of catch up when it comes to our military and our readiness.
I think that we’re focused too much on social issues. Critical Race Theory has [infiltrated] the service academies. Even my school, the U.S. Air Force Academy, has an instructor, a poli-sci instructor, that teaches CRT. And that is out of line. We all know what the military is about. It’s about good order and discipline and unit cohesion. It’s about a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities coming together to conform to the military standard, not the military adjusting itself to a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities and social interests. I think we have it completely flipped, and I’m concerned about our readiness. Some of the things that I would do in the U.S. Senate is focus on selecting generals that are focused on creating a strong war fighting purpose in our military.
In terms of China, yeah, I would definitely push toward sanctions on China, making sure that economic sanctions are in place, making sure that our industries, our businesses and companies, are able to trade fairly — perhaps even limit trade in some areas. But that is a major threat to our, not just domestic stability, but our international stability. You’re seeing China work in tandem with Russia, doing joint exercises. You see Russia becoming aggressive with Ukraine. China’s becoming more aggressive with Taiwan. These are situations that need to be addressed immediately. China recognizes strength. Most of our enemies recognize strength. We need to project strength and not weakness like our current administration is doing.
Q: On your website, you speak about your upbringing, being an American dream story. What lessons from your upbringing do you take with you into this campaign and into leadership in general?
KING: Yeah, I was raised by a single mother for the most part. I was born to a 15-year-old mother. I’m thankful that my parents did see value in my life, because I was born the year after Roe V. Wade. And once I was about 11, 10 years old, my parents divorced. My father got caught up in what was happening in the 80s, drugs and that sort, and from that point on, I was in a single parent home. But there was a lot of love, my grandmother retired early from her job at Robins Air Force Base to help the kids out up in Atlanta — I have a younger sister — and I was able to stay focused. I was able to stay focused in school, and I got good grades, and got an appointment to the Air Force Academy. From that on I performed well in the Air Force. I was an all-conference football player in college, and my life changed after that.
And that’s what I want to make sure that’s available for future generations, not necessarily having a controlled outcome, but the opportunity. With just a little bit of opportunity and a lot of hard work, any American can succeed. And I want to make sure that that’s available for future generations. And the things that I learned coming up is, it matters when you lose, when you fail, when you trip, that’s part of learning. That’s when you stand up and dust yourself off and figure out how to do it right the next time, and go forward. Those types of lessons are so critical and important to overall development.
What I’m seeing right now is that there’s a generation that really is qualified and prepared and smart and are able to do some great things. But it seems as if our government is getting involved and doing things to enable certain activities that aren’t in line with hard work and pulling yourself up by your bootstrap, so to speak. Those are good lessons. Those are lessons that can create a strong American population. I think that’s what we were based on. We were the underdog, and oftentimes the underdog has to work a little bit harder, just like my campaign. We work through adversity. We outwork every other candidate in my race. I’ve visited every county in the state of Georgia. No other candidate has done that.
I’ve done over 250 speaking engagements and public events. No other candidate has done that. We’re going to keep hustling. Those are the things that separate us from other candidates. We actually recently coordinated all 159 counties. We have contacts and campaign staff in all counties in the state of Georgia. That is unique. I want the voter in Georgia to see me as the most accessible candidate, that’s willing to work their behind off to represent them well in Washington.
Q: You have a new commercial out, or shortly out, in which you speak about Raphael Warnock. Can you explain why your eventual Democratic opponent in this election, if you win the primary, Raphael Warnock, why he’s bad for the state of Georgia and the United States?
KING: Yeah, I’m very concerned about Raphael Warnock. It appears that he votes in line with Biden administration. There were a few things that happened since he took over this seat that is extremely concerning. The debacle in Afghanistan, where we pulled out before we got all the Americans out of the country. That was a travesty, and Senator Warnock did not speak up on it. In fact, his only comment was that it saddens him. And I think we deserve more than just a comment like that. He’s not in the executive branch, he’s able to speak up, he’s supposed to represent Georgians. And he isn’t. And also, he considers himself a civil rights icon or leader. He’s not looking at all of Georgians as his constituents.
He passed a — not passed — he pushed for a $4 billion carve-out exclusively for black farmers. And I don’t think that’s in line with what civil rights is about. He supports mask mandates, even the black community is not crazy about these mandates, particularly vaccine mandates or mask mandates. And he’s pushing that. That’s not Georgia. Those are not Georgia values. We need people in these U.S. Senate, we need someone who’s willing to fight for what Georgians are concerned about. Georgians are concerned about racial issues, and I can speak towards that. I can bring people together and unite people. I have not disconnected with the black community. I have strong Republican values. I’ve been a Republican for over 20 years, and I’m respected in the black community.
I can win over votes. That’s going to be critical in our election, to be able to win over votes from outside of the Republican Party. And that’s the strength that we bring to this ticket. Raphael Warnock, he did something else that’s not in line with Georgia values. He actually supports pro-choice initiatives when it comes to abortion. And that’s not really something that we can get behind as believers. He’s a pastor of a church and he’s pro-choice, I don’t see how that’s congruent with the word. He actually flew over to Texas to help protest their abortion bill. I think that’s completely out of line with Georgia values. So these are some of the things that are inconsistent. These are some of the things that don’t represent Georgia values, and these are the reasons why I can stand toe-to-toe with Raphael Warnock and debate the issues and win. And that’s how we’re going to win this U.S. Senate back.
Q: What do you see as the United States’ greatest existential threat?
KING: Right now, I think our international relations, foreign policy-wise, our competition with China, but frankly, at the end of the day, our biggest threat existentially starts internally. A weak America cannot be the America that we all want. When you have our military, their eye is not on the ball; when you have our economy flooding with manufactured money; when you see inflation increasing at a pace that we hadn’t seen in 40 years; when you see our race relations at the same level as they were 40 years ago; these are foundational elements of America that is starting to shake and crumble. That’s why Americans are so concerned. When I visited every county in the state of Georgia, I talk to Georgians, and their main concerns are this cancel culture, racial relations, not being able to find jobs, not being able to find employees.
Those are the things that are on the minds of Americans. And when you combine that with our weakness abroad, our allies are questioning our loyalty, that’s a recipe for disaster, and it’s all leadership and policy-based. We need better people in these seats. We need people who understand what’s going on, that’s experienced, that’s willing to stand up and do the right thing for the country. And that’s what I intend to do as a U.S. Senator.
Q: And that leads into my next question, which is, what does the Republican Party need to do differently in order to win in 2022 and beyond? Because it seems that every red wave election, in 2010 and 2014, comes and goes, and either the Republicans simply slow down the leftward motion of the country, or they stop it, but they don’t push back.
KING: Right. Right now in Georgia, I think the rhetoric is, or the narrative is that Georgia is purple, is trending blue, and that’s not true. It’s not true at all. I think what we’re seeing in Georgia right now is a lack of leadership when it comes to our party putting up candidates that are uniting candidates versus dividing or divisive candidates. The Republican party in Georgia specifically needs to maybe take some notes from Virginia. We need to make sure that we focus on the issues at hand, the pocketbook issues that every Georgian faces. The increased cost of fuel, the increased cost of groceries, the increased cost of energy that we’re facing this winter. These are real issues right now. The concern around COVID, the concern around vaccine mandates. Those are real issues right now. When we can put a Republican on a ticket who is relatable, who knows the issues, that can debate the issues or communicate the issues in a way that’s uniting or inviting, that’s when you have a good candidate. I think that’s the strength of my candidacy to be Frank with you.
My wife and I, we are a strong team in Georgia. We’re strong Republicans. We’ve been Republicans for a long time here in the state, and very active. But at the same time, when we speak, we talk about issues that are directly related to what the concerns are with the people. And that is making sure that jobs are available, good-paying jobs that people can make a living for themselves, that their kids can be educated properly, that they’re safe. And we can do that with Republican talking points, or Republican messages. And we can show that our lifestyle is representative of that; we can show that our upbringing is representative of that. Focusing on those key issues and playing the long game — I don’t want to be reactionary. I think that reactionary, the emotional responses that we saw this last election, that doesn’t bode well for Republicans or the Republican Party. It doesn’t show stability. It doesn’t show that we have our eye on what really matters — those three points that I mentioned earlier — and that’s what we bring to the Republican ticket. We can speak in a way that is received well, not just within the Republican Party, but also with the moderates. And we can bring some Democrats over to our ticket as well.
Q: Is there anything that we haven’t touched on in this interview about your campaign or about your candidacy and this election that you would want our listeners/readers to know?
KING: Well, just generally, I would like for the listeners to know that this U.S. Senate race is a critical race in Georgia. It’s a critical race for our country, and Georgia is going to be ground zero for next year’s election cycle. I believe more money is going to be poured into Georgia than any state in the country because of how important this U.S. Senate seat is and how important our governor’s race is. And it’s incumbent upon all Republicans to go into this election with clear eyes and look at which candidate is best-prepared and has the best ability to actually win and defeat Raphael Warnock in a general election where Raphael Warnock is well-funded, has the media on his side, he’s articulate, and he’s going to play the race game.
He’s going to play the social issues game. And we need a candidate that is not flawed, that knows the issues, and that can debate the issues, and can articulate the right messaging, and make the right points. And that can stand toe-to-toe. And that’s going to be the difference. Think general election, not necessarily a primary election.
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