Attacked by some Republicans for not having supported the former president enough and vilified by Democrats for looking too much like Donald Trump, Governor Brian Kemp officially launched his candidacy for re-election on Saturday by retaliating against his detractors.
The Republican of Athens paraded his accomplishments to a room filled with supporters at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry, from a historic pay rise for teachers to cracking down on street gangs to handling the growing economy of the Georgia, especially outside of the Atlanta subway.
âI have also kept my commitment to fight for rural Georgia, to strengthen rural Georgia,â he said. âWe created the promise of a rural strike team; we laser-focused on rural broadband.
Conservative voters in rural Georgia are a staple constituency for Republicans, and even the slightest drop in turnout and support could make a difference in a tightly divided state – something the party saw firsthand in both polls of the Senate.
David Perdue won 41,428 votes in Houston County alone [in November]. â¦ In January he got 36,700, âsaid US Representative Austin Scott (R-Tifton). âLet me tell you something: we can’t let this happen again. “
Former President Trump notably spent months attacking Georgia, its electoral system and any leader refusing to reverse its results, including Kemp.
The split within the Republican Party complicated his candidacy for re-election and led to at least two challengers, including former pro-Trump insurgent turned Democrat Vernon Jones, who launched scathing attacks on Kemp and the voting system of the ‘State. A favorite target of the ex-president’s ire after losing the November election, the governor has since launched a series of efforts to reclaim his dark red base.
In recent weeks, Kemp has jumped into the fray over “critical race theory,” banned vaccine passports, and made a trip to the US-Mexico border while attacking the “waking mob.” and “culture cancellation” after several groups sued the new voting law.
“I will make this commitment to you: I will not waver in this fight,” he said. âI don’t care if it’s the Department of Justice, Major League Baseball or anyone else. Every Republican voted for this bill. And we will continue to defend it, because the truth is on our side.
After the narrow margins of the 2020 elections, Georgian politics have been propelled into the national spotlight. Kemp doesn’t mind.
“I know there are concerns about the nationalization of the race,” Kemp told reporters after his speech. âPersonally, I think the Democrats have done a good job nationalizing racing in the state of Georgia. [in 2020]. And the Republicans didn’t have a good message to fight this.
But the governor said this time around he feels the scenario has shifted and national Democratic policies could end up hurting them in Georgia.
Kemp said his message will be the same to Perry as inside the perimeter: he is the one who will make Georgia safer and stronger.
âVoters are smart. They will find out where people are, âhe told reporters. “I just remind people today what I campaigned on, what was accomplished and really what the fight is for the future.”
Speaking of the future, Kemp is entering the second half of 2020 with over $ 9 million in the bank and a new announcement attacking the decision to move the Major League Baseball All-Star Game and a defense of the new voting law.
Betty Bryant, who sits on the Spalding County Electoral Board, said Kemp was a man of integrity who did not let the Tories down, despite the disappointment of some grassroots voters that the governor had certified the president’s election Joe Biden.
âI think for reasons unknown to us he did the things he did,â she said. âHe knows the law; we don’t. And I will support him again.
After Democrats overturned the state electoral votes and the two U.S. Senate seats, Bryant said Republicans were doing everything they could to keep control of the state.
âThe roles have turned and we are determined not to let the state slip into the blue,â she said. âWe’re not going to let this happen. It will stay red and Kemp will stay in the governor’s mansion.
Forsyth resident Ann Haines has also been supporting Kemp since 2018 and said he has since given her no reason to change her mind.
âHe always told the truth,â she says. âI didn’t hear him lie or try to hide anything. He has been very open and that gives me a reason to support him.
As COVID-19 sickened hundreds of thousands of people, the first-term governor struggled to deal with the pandemic and came under scrutiny for the state’s reopening. But the Georgian economy has rebounded, giving it a key talking point for its campaign.
In rural areas, where Georgians have fended off the dangers of the pandemic and where vaccination rates continue to be lower than in metropolitan areas, Haines said the Republican governor had done his best to control the spread of the virus. .
âIt was a challenge from the start in Georgia. A lot of people didn’t think this was happening. For my part, I was a bit in the bubble, âshe said. âThen I realized that some friends were getting sick. So you had to realize that things had to be done. I think he did as well as any governor could have. “
While some Republicans are keen to stoke the fires of division in an attempt to excite the grassroots, others have credited Kemp with not shying away from the pro-Trump plots that have taken control of Georgian politics.
âThe Republican Party needs to come together instead of breaking up,â said Haines, a Forsyth resident. “And the only way to do that is to find what we have common ground on.”