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Governor’s Race for 2022 taking shape


The race for 2022 must be on the mind of Governor Brian Kemp, who started the week out speaking before the Cobb Chamber of Commerce during its annual meeting at the Cobb Galleria. Striking a pro-business stance and sounding like the state leader in charge, Kemp told those gathered that he would fight for the business community. Alluding to Major League Baseball and the All-Star Game’s departure from Cobb, along with 100 million economic dollars, Kemp defended Georgia’s recently passed election laws, saying the law will make it harder to cheat.

Kemp’s comments to this group came on the heels of comments he made a few days earlier during a stop at a local Cobb restaurant. The governor spoke to supporters and indicated his ongoing anger with MLB while taking some pokes at Democrats. Though Kemp and his supporters may be upset with the organization’s decision, many across the state applaud the move by MLB because of the new election laws they claim will negatively impact people of color when it comes to access and the ability to vote.

Kemp, who defended the election bill and believes it is good for Georgia, told his backers at the restaurant that President Joe Biden’s opposition to the law was a “big lie on steroids.” He went on to blame Biden and Democrats for MLB’s decision to relocate the game, saying big business was “scared” of “woke liberals” and “cancel culture.” Attorney General Chris Carr, who was also in attendance, chimed in telling the crowd that MLB’s knee jerk reaction was a result of a made-up narrative by Stacey Abrams and her supporters, including Biden.” This is not the first time Republicans have attempted to blame Democrats for the decision by MLB and it will probably not be the last. Republican groups are using comments from Cobb Chair Lisa Cupid to condemn and attack both President Biden and Stacey Abrams. Using Cupid’s words, they are calling it the Abrams and Biden Boycott. As the Republican National Committee targets President Biden with an ad featuring Cupid, political pundits suspect a similar attack using Cupid’s commentary will be used against Abrams once she announces her plans to run for Governor.

Contrary to the partisan spin, prior to MLB making a decision on the games, Abrams said she did not want to see hard working Georgians hurt by lost events like the All-Star game. Once a decision was made by MLB, she blamed Republicans. In a Twitter statement, Abrams said, “Republicans who passed and defended senate bill 202 did so knowing the economic risks to our state.”

During the Chamber event, Kemp sounded like a person running for re-election as he pointed to the reform of the state’s citizen arrest law, Georgia’s AAA bond rating, and the recent legislative session that saw funding restored to key areas such as education, public safety, and health care. At the close of the luncheon, Kemp would be presented with the Chamber’s Johnny Isakson Leadership Award as a round of applause came from the business minded crowd.

Whatever euphoria Kemp felt from his weekend restaurant stop or the Chamber event were short lived. A few days later, Republicans in two rural Georgia counties, Murray and Whitfield, announced that they had voted to censure Kemp because he failed to do anything to help overturn Donald Trump’s presidential loss in Georgia during the November general election. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan would also feel their wrath, as they too were censured by these groups from their political party.

The rest of Kemp’s week did not fare well either as Friday brought his first challenger for the seat he holds. Former Democratic lawmaker, Vernon Jones, announced his run for the Republican nomination for Governor in 2022. Recall that Jones denounced membership in the Democratic party last year after coming under fire for endorsing Trump’s reelection bid over Biden. Jones would later adopt the former president’s false claims that the 2020 election was rigged. As he announced his campaign, Jones shared an unflattering appraisal on the job that Kemp has been doing, suggesting that he, Jones, has done more as a conservative for Republicans and Donald Trump than Kemp and other RINO’s (“Republican in name only”) combined. Jones’ attack on Kemp takes over where Trump’s attack on the governor left off after Kemp rebuffed demands to overturn Biden’s victory in the state. Many suggested at the time that Trump’s barrage of attacks would make Kemp and Raffensperger more vulnerable in 2022 if they sought re-election to their positions. In his fury, Trump even threatened to back a primary challenger against Kemp and floated former Rep. Doug Collins as a candidate for governor in 2022. The former President has already endorsed a Republican challenger to Raffensperger. No word yet if he will reciprocate and endorse Jones.

During the time Trump was seething, Kemp dismissed the former President’s comments as distractions. As the next big election cycle approaches, Kemp must be feeling the temperature rising from Trump loyalist in the state who are still mad and needing someone to blame because of the election results in Georgia.

While Republicans try to figure it out for 2022, Democrats are on the move with many announcing their intent for statewide positions currently held by Republicans, believing the momentum is on their side to make significant inroads next year.

After narrowly losing to Kemp in 2018, the strong bet is that Stacey Abrams will be back in 2022 for a rematch. Abrams has been busy during the interim years building coalitions across the state. She is credited with turning Georgia blue while securing Georgia for Biden and helping to elect two Democratic U.S. Senators for the state. Some say she has positioned herself in such a way that she is unbeatable. They suggest that Kemp is vulnerable, and he will not be able to call on Trump or his allies for support this time. They point to Trump’s help in securing a victory in 2018 for Kemp over his GOP opponent, then-Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, and then over his Democratic opponent, Abrams, who lost by only 55,000 votes out of 4 million votes cast.

Although she is highly expected to run again for governor, Abrams is keeping her cards and her final decision close to her vest. She avoided a direct response to a question during a recent interview posed by NBC’s Chuck Todd about her plans to run again for governor. Instead, Abrams told the Meet the Press host that she was focused on protecting democracy in Georgia.

Abrams’ organization, Fair Fight, raised more than $22 million and registered thousands of new voters during the 2020 election cycle. Many in the state assumed that when Biden took office, he would take Abrams to Washington with him. She reportedly turned down a cabinet position because she still has her sights on the top position at Georgia’s gold dome. As more candidates announce their plans for elected office, the citizens of Georgia, along with Governor Kemp, wait for a big announcement from Abrams and the big rematch that will certainly follow.



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