Tuesday evening, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp routed Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle by a 61 percent to 39 percent margin in the runoff election, thereby securing Georgia’s Republican Party’s Gubernatorial nomination.
Kemp will face off against Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams in November’s election.
Although the race was close throughout the runoff campaign, support from President Donald Trump threw ferocious and fervent support behind Kemp.
The President tweeted the following on July 21 at 7:10 p.m.:
“Brian Kemp, who is running for Governor of Georgia and has my full endorsement, is campaigning tonight with VP Mike Pence. Brian is very strong on Crime and Borders, LOVES our Military, Vets and the 2nd Amendment. He will be a GREAT Governor!”
Before President Trump threw his support behind Kemp, the former Secretary of State had about 58 percent of the vote, according to statisticians from Cagle’s campaign.
After Trump’s tweet, Kemp’s campaign was awash with support, pulling in almost 75 percent of the vote on election day.
“But we cannot forget that tweet that we heard around Georgia,” Kemp said during his victory speech Tuesday. “I want to give a big thanks to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. I want to thank President Trump and Vice President Pence for standing with us in these final days and standing with me.”
Meanwhile, Abrams sealed the Democratic nomination May 22. While fundraising and preparing for the general election, the former Georgia House Minority Leader said last night, “It’s official: Moments ago, Georgia Republicans chose Brian Kemp to be their nominee for governor. And tomorrow, Republicans will coalesce around him for pour millions of dollars into his campaign.”
Many pundits believe this campaign will be the thermometer that tests how strong President Trump’s support really is.
Kemp’s popularity soared during the primary when former Republican gubernatorial candidate Clay Tippins released an audio recording in the first round of the primary, in which he said the election had become about “who had the biggest gun, who had the biggest truck, and who could be the craziest.”
In addition, Kemp’s campaign ads showed him carrying a shotgun while vowing to Georgia voters, “no one’s taking away.” Plus, he sat in a Ford F350 truck saying he would use it “just in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take them home myself.”
By comparison, Abrams has run the kind of campaign that strives to bring apathetic and independent voters alike to her tent.
“I’m not going to spend a disproportionate share of our resources trying to convert Republican-leaning voters when we can invest in lifting up the voices of those who share our values. Because here’s the thing: I think our values are the right ones. And I think these values that are shared actually are going to be victorious on their own,” Abrams said in an interview with Rolling Stone.
In other words, Abrams is not aiming for the bullseye of the center.
Beyond typical bell-weather issues such as voting rights, contraction/expansion of gun rights, criminal justice, illegal immigration, and abortion rights, Abrams vs Kemp will be a battle of ideology and headlines going forward.
The outcome of the Georgia Gubernatorial race will not only signal a winner and a loser between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp.
The outcome on Tuesday, Nov. 6, will also signal whether President Trump’s playbook is effective or not.