Gov. Brian Kemp (R) believes Democrat Stacey Abrams’ candidacy for governor will work to unite Georgia Republicans following a heated GOP primary that Kemp ended up winning in a rout.
Kemp told Breitbart News in a phone interview after his victory, “I think Stacey Abrams is going to be the great unifier,” in response to a question about how he would win over Republicans who voted for his primary opponent, Trump-backed former Sen. David Perdue.
Kemp defeated Perdue by about 50 points after facing significant criticism from both Perdue and former President Donald Trump that Kemp could not win a second general election race against Abrams, whom the governor narrowly defeated in 2018 with Trump’s backing.
“A vote for RINO Brian Kemp in this primary is a vote for Governor Stacey Abrams,” Trump said in March about Kemp, whom the former president has repeatedly attacked over Georgia’s 2020 election process.
When asked about Trump endorsing his primary opponent, Kemp brushed it off, saying, “I’ve never said anything bad about Donald Trump. I don’t plan on doing that.” The governor added, “I appreciate — and I’ve said this before — I appreciate all President Trump did to help our state, and he did a lot.”
In addition to what Kemp views as Georgia Republicans’ shared disdain for Abrams’ policies, Kemp cited former Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) as another reason for Kemp to be confident about his prospects in his rematch with Abrams.
“If you look at Nathan Deal … when he got his second nomination, he had less percentage of the vote than I did against two very unknown candidates. I actually did better than he did against a guy that was a former United States senator and is a multimillionaire that had, you know, 100 percent name ID because of a runoff that he lost to Jon Ossoff,” Kemp said, adding, “So, I think the party is going to come together to beat Stacey Abrams and to send a message to Joe Biden and to send some relief to Washington, DC.”
Georgia’s gubernatorial and Senate contests are expected to be two of the most competitive and expensive races in the country this midterm season. The battleground state has attracted national attention as Trump has continued to be vocal about his ire toward Kemp, and in the Senate race, Georgians have somewhat of a celebrity on the ballot in Herschel Walker, who is up against vulnerable Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA).
Back in 2018, Kemp beat Abrams by a razor-thin margin of just over one percent of the vote, and Abrams famously refused to concede at the time, saying, “I will not concede because the erosion of our democracy is not right.”
Abrams is now returning to the campaign scene in a much stronger position than when she was in her previous race, boasting better funding and a raised profile. Kemp says, however, that the political landscape in the Peach State has also changed and contends that his record of accomplishments as governor coupled with the ever-sagging approval of Democrats in Washington will work in his favor.
“The whole cycle is completely different than ’18,” Kemp said. “It’s not an open seat anymore. I am the current governor. I’ve got a great record to run on. That’s what I did in the primary, and I’m gonna run on that same record in the general, and we’re gonna beat her again.”
Kemp added, “This environment nationally and in Georgia for Democrats right now, they’re the party of Joe Biden, 40-year-high inflation, disaster at the border, more rules and regulations, more taxes, you know, just a broken Washington that hasn’t gotten hardly anything done, and Georgians are frustrated with that … and that’s exactly where Stacey Abrams would take us.”
A recent poll taken by SurveyUSA provided an early glimpse of the Kemp-Abrams contest, showing Kemp five points ahead of Abrams, 50 percent to 45 percent.
Write to Ashley Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.