Kemp v. Abrams: Game on in battleground Georgia’s high-profile gubernatorial battle

Kemp v. Abrams: Game on in battleground Georgia’s high-profile gubernatorial battle

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The Republican Governors Association (RGA) took aim at Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams on the first day of the key battleground state’s general election campaign.

“Stacey believes she can spend your money better than you,” the narrator in a new RGA ad charged. “That’s why she’s supported higher gas taxes, a new sales tax, supports higher property taxes. In Stacey Abrams’ Georgia, it’s all about her, not you.”

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The RGA says they’ll spend half a million dollars to run the commercial on broadcast TV in Atlanta, the state’s largest media market.

Abrams, a former leader in the Georgia legislature, a rising star in the Democratic Party and a nationally known voting rights champion, will face off in November in a rematch with first-term Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who narrowly edged Abrams in their 2018 election face-off.

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Abrams ran unopposed in Tuesday’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, while Kemp won the GOP nomination by crushing his top challenger – former Sen. David Perdue – who was heavily supported by former President Donald Trump.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp celebrates his primary night victory, May 24, 2022, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp celebrates his primary night victory, May 24, 2022, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Fox News )

Firing back against the RGA’s spot, Democratic Party of Georgia spokesman Max Flugrath welcomed,Brian Kemp and his GOP allies’ help reminding voters of Stacey’s work as a bipartisan leader in the legislature, such as her support of the GOP-sponsored bills referenced in their new ad. Stacey is a tax attorney who stopped the largest tax increase in state history.”

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In her first general election ad, Abrams touts, “I’ve brought Democrats, Republicans, and Independents together. 

RGA tells Fox News it will place significant resources in Georgia’s gubernatorial race, in a once reliably red state that’s turned purple in recent years. President Biden in the 2020 election narrowly won the state, becoming the first Democrat in a quarter-century to carry Georgia. And Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock defeated Perdue and fellow GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler in the Jan. 5, 2021, twin runoff elections, which gave the Senate majority to the Democrats.

The rival Democratic Governors Association (DGA) highlights its investments in the state, including a seven-figure ad campaign by the DGA-linked America Works, in conjunction with top pro-Democratic super PACs.

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At his primary victory speech on Tuesday night, Kemp emphasized to his supporters that “our battle is far from over. Tonight the fight for the soul of our state begins, to make sure Stacey Abrams is not going to be our governor or the next president.”

Hours earlier, Abrams at a news conference previewed her campaign, stressing, “Four years ago, I warned about the failure that Kemp was going to be. And four years later, I’m going to prove that he was the wrong choice for Georgia.” 

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks to reporters on primary day, May 24, 2022, in Atlanta, Georgia 

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks to reporters on primary day, May 24, 2022, in Atlanta, Georgia  (Fox News )

The most recent surveys in the general election showdown indicate Kemp holding a mid-single digit advantage.

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Kemp appeared to emerge from his combustible primary with Perdue with less damage that originally expected, thanks to his landslide victory. And Trump, who spent nearly a year and a half attacking the governor for certifying Biden’s narrow 2020 election victory in Georgia, has stayed quiet regarding Kemp since Tuesday’s primary.

Trey Hood, a political science professor at the University of Georgia and director of the school’s survey research center, told Fox News that he believes “Kemp to be in a stronger position in 2022 than he was in 2018. It may very well be a close election, but Kemp is an incumbent with legislative accomplishments and a strong economy to tout. Kemp has certainly emerged from the primary looking very strong and essentially unscathed by Trump’s attacks.”