Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp delivers a speech after filing the paperwork to run for re-election inside the State Capitol on Thursday, March 10, 2022. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp secured re-election to the Governor’s mansion after withstanding two fierce battles for his political life. Kemp outlasted Democratic nominee Stacey Y. Abrams in a rematch of their 2018 election battle.

Abrams suspended her bid for Tuesday night shortly after 11:00 PM when the margin was nearly 300,000 votes. Thirty minutes later, Abrams would deliver her concession speech after eleven months of passionate campaigning throughout the Peach State. 

Later, the Associated Press would formally call the race for Governor Brian Kemp at 12:45 AM Eastern Standard Time. 

“It looks like the reports of my political death have been greatly exaggerated,” Kemp told his supporters Tuesday night at the Coca-Cola Roxy in Cobb County. “Each day of this race, we talked about how Marty and the girls and I think we live in the best state in this country to live, work and raise our families. And we all know that my opponent disagreed. But looking at the results tonight, we made sure that Stacey Abrams is not going to be our governor or your next president.”

Kemp didn’t invoke the name of former President Donald Trump at all Tuesday night, but he stood proudly as someone who is emboldened after beating back Trump and Abrams, who is a star within the Democratic party with two victories in the span of almost six months. 

“I can’t tell you how honored I am to be your governor for the next four years. You have honored us beyond measure with your vote, with your support, with your time and with your resources. Most importantly though, you have honored us with your prayers and our whole family is grateful for that,” Kemp said. “As you all know, there were a lot of people in high places who thought tonight’s victory would never happen. But like so many times before, you all and Team Kemp proved them wrong.”

In May, Governor Kemp decisively beat Perdue while carrying 72% of the vote. Tuesday night, Kemp carried more than 53% of the vote, with more than 95% of the votes counted. That victory in May buoyed Kemp to a portion of Georgia’s electorate that is white, college educated and suburban, who have felt alienated by the actions and record of former President Trump. 

According to exit polls in the 2020 Presidential election, one in five Black men voted for Trump because they trusted the former President with the economy more than Joe Biden. In the governor’s race, Abrams’s rating among Black men was down by eight points according to exit polls. 

Democratic nominee for Georgia governor Stacey Abrams speaks to supporters at her watch party on Tuesday, November 8, 2022. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

Meanwhile for Abrams, her resolve did not quiver or quake.

“But despite our differences, despite what people say separates us. For the most part, we want the same things: We want to live in a Georgia that works for everyone. A Georgia where every person has a voice in our democracy and doesn’t have to show up earlier to make it so.”

“Our state has experienced one soul crushing crisis after another over the past few years,” Abrams said. “But even during these trying times, the fighting spirit of Georgia has prevailed. We’ve seen what’s possible when we stand up for our neighbors and protect each other. We’ve made sacrifices we’ve pitched in. We’ve seen each other’s fights as our own. And we’ve done things we never thought we could. It is in the spirit of that endurance and that persistence that I decided again to run for Governor.

Abrams closed her speech by quoting 2nd Corinthians 4:8-9. It says, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Abrams said she may no longer run for Governor but promised to never stop doing everything in her power to ensure that the people have a voice over a lot of decisions they need to make.

When the Georgia General Assembly gavels into session on January 9th, Governor Kemp will once again have both chambers in Republican control. 

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...