With the primary and run-off elections now complete in Georgia, focus turns to the general election. There are several high-profile races in the state, but the one that will impact Georgians most is the rematch of the 2018 Gubernatorial race between incumbent Governor Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams.
Brian Kemp was an underdog in the 2018 GOP primary. He finished second to Casey Cagle, but forced a run-off in which he overtook Cagle and won the party’s nomination. At the time, I didn’t like Brian Kemp. He ran silly TV ads and had message that reminded me too much of Donald Trump. I voted against him in the 2018 primary and run-off. Despite that, he has greatly exceeded my expectations in his first term, so I would like to posit seven reasons why you should consider supporting him over Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams in this November’s general election.
1. Brian Kemp has done a great deal for Georgia tax payers. In light of surging gas prices, Governor Kemp temporarily suspended the state gas tax giving Georgians some of the lowest gas prices in the country during a time of nationwide record-high gas prices. He led the state to a budget surplus and rewarded Georgians with a tax refund of up to $500 per household. He did this while also raising pay for state employees. Furthermore, he signed historic tax cuts that will come into effect in 2024. His policies continue to rank Georgia as the #1 state to do business.
2. Crime spiked in Atlanta as a result of a police shortage following perceived poor treatment from then-Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms. In response, Kemp formed an anti-crime unit. The results of the task force were sterling: “The unit’s efforts had resulted in 23,600 vehicle stops, 588 DUI stops, 572 pursuits, 1,300 vehicles being impounded and 16,000 citations.”
3. Brian Kemp was harshly criticized in the media for his COVID-19 response. He even upset former President Donald Trump by going against his wishes and opening up the state. Despite that, he was undeterred and allowed Georgians to make COVID-related safety decisions for themselves. While it is admittedly a case of Monday morning quarterbacking, we now see that the cost of the extended lockdowns was extremely high – especially for youth – and Kemp helped us avoid that in Georgia.
4. Following former President Donald Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him in the state of Georgia, Governor Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger received immense pressure to somehow overturn the election. Lacking sufficient evidence to do so, and in accordance with the state constitution, they certified the vote.
Since there were still growing concerns about election integrity, Kemp signed a fairly benign election integrity bill that required a form of ID to get an absentee ballot. This ID could be your driver’s license number, your social security number, a utility bill to your address, or several other forms of identification.
Stacey Abrams saw this as an opportunity to make a name for herself. She barnstormed the media with dismay over the impending law calling it racist and saying many in the black community wouldn’t be able to provide the ID necessary to vote. In doing so, she became a household name, not just in Georgia, but across the country. Governor Kemp faced a great deal of national pressure, but didn’t buckle. He signed the law.
In the first election under the law, the 2022 primaries, there was record turnout. When asked about the record turnout and how that may disprove her claims that it would make it too hard to vote, Stacey Abrams said:
“The question about voter suppression and voter turnout is causation without correlation—I’m sorry, you can make mistakes even when you know what you’re talking about—it’s correlation without causation. We know that increased turnout has nothing to do with suppression. Suppression is about whether you make it difficult for voters to access the ballot. And in Georgia we know difficulty has been put in place for too many Georgians.”
5. As part of Stacey Abram’s big media blitz around the election integrity bill, Abrams, LeBron James, and Al Sharpton successfully pressured MLB to move the All-Star game out of Atlanta, costing Cobb County an estimated 100 million dollars. While it cost Georgians, it furthered her name recognition and the politicizing of sports. Since it hurt Georgians and was unpopular, she had the USA Today retroactively edit her op-ed where she supported boycotts.
6. Since the topic of election integrity/voter suppression was sparked by Donald Trump’s claims of a stolen election, it makes sense to ask if you think he was a sore loser and his failure to accept the election results was bad for the country. If so, you may have issue with Stacey Abrams too. After losing to Kemp in the 2018 Gubernatorial race, Stacey Abrams did the same thing. She still has never conceded.
7. Finally, let’s hear what Abrams thinks of living in Georgia:
With neither Joe Biden nor Kamala Harris a strong candidate to earn the 2024 nomination for the Democratic party, many think Stacey Abrams’ goal is to win Georgia’s governorship and use it as a springboard to begin campaigning for President a year later. Her comments about not enjoying living in Georgia serve to further this hypothesis. She would be the Governor of a then-swing state and immediately the front-runner for the Democratic nomination.
We don’t want a Governor who governs for a year before turning her attention to campaigning for federal office and we don’t need a change from Kemp’s successful policies. It is for all of these reasons I humbly ask you to consider supporting Brian Kemp for Georgia Governor in 2022.