NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is feeling enthusiastic after his victory in the GOP gubernatorial primary election this week and his path to the midterms as he seeks to retain his place in the governor’s mansion and defeat Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams.
Kemp’s success with Republican voters in the state this week came despite influence from former President Trump, who endorsed Kemp’s primary challenger, former Sen. David Perdue.
In an interview with Fox News Digital on Wednesday, Kemp was asked whether he believes influence from Trump is still strong within the state after Perdue’s loss. Kemp said he would “let the political pundits speak to all of that” and insisted that a candidate’s “record matters” when it comes to an election.
“All I know is your record matters,” Kemp said as he touted accomplishments from his administration. “When we were talking to people, they appreciate that I fought to keep our state open even when I was getting criticized, that I fought to get our kids back into classrooms, that I stood up to Major League Baseball when we passed the Election Integrity Act, when I stood up to Hollywood when we passed the heartbeat bill”
Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during a news conference at the Delta Flight Museum in Hapeville, Georgia, on Feb. 25, 2021. (Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“I think Georgians want somebody who’s gonna do what is right for them,” he continued. “They want somebody to fight for them and they want somebody to do simply what they say they’re gonna do when they’re running. That’s what I’ve done and I think that’s what resonated with people and that’s what paid off with people because I’ve been honest and truthful with them about everything I’ve had to deal with – the good, bad and ugly.”
“Now we’ve gotta get in the fight and make sure that Stacey Abrams is not our governor or our next president,” he added.
With the stage set after the two candidates officially received nominations from their party this week, Kemp and Abrams will face off later this year in what is seemingly a rematch of their 2018 battle for governor of Georgia – which Abrams narrowly lost to Kemp.
Asked about comments from the Abrams campaign on Wednesday that claimed Kemp had “disqualified himself” from seeking another term as governor, Kemp said he looks forward to speaking with Georgians about actions his administration has taken to better the state.
“I appreciate her conceding finally and realizing that I am the governor, but I don’t believe I’ve disqualified myself,” Kemp said. “In fact, I look forward to running on my record and I’m looking forward to pointing out what her record has been.”
“She’s the one that criticized me when we reopened, she’s the one who criticized me when we pushed to get our kids back in school, she’s the one who criticized me for not having a statewide mask mandate – yet she can go in a school and be the only one who didn’t wear a mask and be the biggest hypocrite in America. She also criticized me when I didn’t force vaccines on people because I believe people should be able to talk to their doctor, and she thinks more government mandates are good,” he added.
Stacey Abrams and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (Drew Angerer, Getty Images | Nathan Posner, Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Georgia witnessed record-breaking turnout for early voting despite passing an election security law last year that critics panned as “voter suppression” and President Biden said harkened back to the era of “Jim Crow.” As of Thursday, 860,068 people had cast votes in the state’s 2022 primary election, marking a 168% increase in voter turnout from the 2018 primary, according to data compiled by Georgia Votes.
Discussing record voter turnout for the primary elections in Georgia and the attacks he faced after signing the Election Integrity Act into law, as well as claims that it would suppress votes in the state, Kemp said it is “easy to vote and hard to cheat” in Georgia elections.
“They’ve been overblowing this for 10 years,” Kemp said. “Quite honestly, a lot of big folks in the media have been, you know, going along with that whole sham. It’s just something that polls good and raises money for them so Stacey Abrams can put money in her own pocket, or now her campaign coffers. But the truth is it’s easy to vote and hard to cheat in Georgia and we saw that yesterday.”
“I think it’s just poetic justice, again,” he added. “I think the Democrats have overplayed their hand. That’s what people are sick of. They’re sick of politicians lying to them. People voting in Georgia – they know it’s easy to go vote. They know they have multiple ways on multiple days to do that.”
Kemp said he believes most Georgians “understand who’s being truthful with them and who’s not” and said he hopes to be “rewarded in November because of that.”
Kemp also discussed the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 elementary school students and two teachers dead, and what he was doing in an effort to prevent things like that from happening in his state.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families that were affected,” Kemp said. “It’s just a horrific incident and hits at the heartstrings of the whole country, quite honestly. It’s just awful.”
Discussing his commitment to school children and ensuring they receive what they need, Kemp said his administration, as a part of his first budget in office, “sent $30,000 to every school in the state” to use as they saw fit.
Stephanie and Michael Chavez of San Antonio pay their respects at a makeshift memorial outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, May 25, 2022. (Reuters/Nuri Vallbona)
“We gave them complete local control so the schools could use the money however they wanted,” Kemp said, noting that some funds were used to enhance security on school grounds.
Following the tragedy in Texas, Kemp’s office provided a school safety update on Wednesday. “We want to reassure Georgia families today that we have worked closely with the General Assembly and state agencies to ensure our students and educators have secure learning environments,” Kemp said. “We will continue to do all we can to protect Georgians – and especially our state’s most treasured asset, our children.”
The general election for governor of Georgia will take place in November.