Exclusive: As the first pitch in the relocated MLB All-Star Game approaches, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is targeting Stacey Abrams and other prominent Democrats in a new ad campaign and reiterating his pledge to fight legal challenges to the state’s controversial election law.
Set to debut Friday and air during the All-Star Game, the 30-second ad features Kemp outside the Atlanta Braves’ home stadium, Truist Park, the site once selected to host this year’s event. The Republican governor asserts Abrams and other members of what he describes in the ad as a “liberal mob” disregarded the economic losses of local small business in favor of partisan political goals.
“We’re going to keep fighting,” Kemp said in an interview with Fox News. “The Elections Integrity Act is a good piece of legislation that makes it easy to vote and hard to cheat. In my opinion, Stacey Abrams, all these activists, a lot of these corporate ‘woke’ cancel culture people, including Major League Baseball, overplayed their hand here and we’re going to push back.”
Abrams and President Biden are among the most prominent critics of the law, with the latter describing it as a case of “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.” In June, Biden’s Justice Department sued Georgia over the Elections Integrity Act, arguing the law was discriminatory and in violation of federal elections statutes.
Kemp said the Biden administration’s lawsuit constituted a federal effort to influence election laws debated and passed by a state legislature.
A sweeping Democrat-backed voting overhaul, dubbed the “For The People Act” and presented as a check against discriminatory voting restrictions, stalled in the Senate last month after opposition from GOP lawmakers.
“They lost the federal takeover that they wanted to do that was an unconstitutional power grab,” Kemp said. “I think this is just the next course of action to show the activists and the folks that are pressuring them. The president got way out there talking about the bill and labeling it was Jim Crow 2.0 and whatever else. Didn’t even read our bill, didn’t even know what the bill did.”
MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred pulled the All-Star Game out of Atlanta in April, citing concerns that Georgia’s GOP-backed law would limit voter access. The CEOs of several prominent corporate entities, including Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, also spoke out against the law.
In a statement shortly after MLB announced its decision, Abrams said she was “disappointed” that the game would not take place in Atlanta.
The law includes restrictions on absentee and mail-in voting, expanded voter ID requirements and restrictions on non-poll workers providing food and drink to voters waiting in line at polling centers, among other measures. Republicans, including Kemp, argue the measures are necessary to ensure security and confidence in Georgia’s elections following a contentious 2020 cycle.
Kemp’s ad campaign is one of the first salvos in what is expected to be a hotly contested Georgia gubernatorial race. The governor acknowledged the legal challenges to Georgia’s election law, and the resulting fallout, will be a major issue in the race as he seeks re-election.
“No doubt, but I think it’s other things, too. It’s elections integrity and the ability for state legislatures to decide in their states what their election laws are going to be,” Kemp said.
Georgia officials have decried the impact MLB’s move would have on small businesses attempting to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. In April, Cobb Travel and Tourism CEO Holly Quinlan said the relocation would result in more than $100 million in “estimated lost economic impact.”
This year’s All-Star Game was later relocated to Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. It will be held on July 13.
Kemp singles out Abrams for criticism in the ad, declaring that she and other members of “the liberal mob forced the All-Star Game to move, despite the fact that we made it easier to vote and harder to cheat.” He adds that critics of the election bill will “put their political agenda ahead of jobs, small business, even the truth.”
The Georgia governor also pushed back on reports that Abrams urged the MLB to keep the All-Star Game in Atlanta before the decision was made to relocate, asserting the Democratic voting rights activist had “flip-flopped” on the issue.
Fair Fight Action, Abrams’ voting rights organization, did not respond to a request for comment.
“When they figured out this was not a good political position for them to be in, they started trying to put the narrative out there that oh, you shouldn’t move the game,” he added. “Well, you can’t have it both ways and we’re calling them out on that.”