ATLANTA — It was a much anticipated and widely-talked about rematch in Georgia's governor race that pitted incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp against Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams. In the end, Election Day concluded with yet another win for Kemp, defeating Abrams more soundly than he did in 2018.
After Abrams conceded, Kemp took the stage to roaring cheers that eventually turned into chants of "four more years." While delivering his nearly 20-minute victory speech, Kemp slammed his critics and those who questioned his policies through his first four years in office.
Watch his full speech below:
Below is the full transcript of his speech:
How about them Dawgs! Thank y’all so much, it looks like the reports of my political death have been greatly exaggerated, and listen it is a great night to be a Georgian, I want to thank you guys so much for coming to be without family tonight. Let’s hear it for the best first lady and the best first daughters in the nation. As you all know, this has been quite the team effort for us and it wouldn’t be for without these four ladies that have worked so hard and supported me in everything I’ve ever done cannot thank them enough for their support.
Listen, there are so many people to thank. Many who are with us tonight thank you guys, but first and foremost thank you to the team Kemp volunteers who put up yard signs, made phone calls, knocked on doors, wrote postcards, and got their friends and families out to vote. We would not be here without you -- thank you so much y’all.
I also want to thank all the statewide candidates and legislators who are here -- thank you guys and congratulations. I know you all have worked incredibly hard over the last few months, and I look forward to working with each of you over the next four years to keep our state moving in the right direction. Y’all are great, thank you. And all the hard-working Georgians across this state who came out to our bus stops, our rallies, our meet and greets, those who helped Lucy fill up our diesel fuel can. You remember at the bus stop when Lucy was holding the diesel fuel can and we told you at those stops all across this state we got all the money we need -- it’s just in your pocket.
And I appreciate y’all supporting the girls with your contributions, but also just appreciate the strong grassroots supporters that we’ve had literally from Claxton to Calhoun. Finally, I just want to thank the campaign staff and our official staff for all the wood that they have chopped over the last several months. We love y’all. As you all know, we did not get distracted on this hard fought campaign, just like we have stayed focused on putting you first throughout my first term, we woke up every single day talking about how to build a safer stronger Georgia for you and your family and help your family fight through Joe Biden’s 40-year high inflation, and we did that by focusing on common sense solutions, to put more of your hard earned tax dollars in your pocket, like passing the largest state income tax cut in history, returning over 1 billion dollars back to you the taxpayers, and suspending the gas tax in this state since March.
And we are not about to stop there, come January 2023 were going to send another billion dollars back to the taxpayers, and we're also going to give you relief on your property taxes as well, but we also focused on how resilient Georgia’s economy has been despite the disaster were seeing in Washington D.C., and across the country thanks to Joe Biden. But in Georgia we have record low unemployment, the most people ever working in the history of our state, historic investment in rural Georgia in the two largest job projects in state history were announced just in the last year, but this campaign was also about keeping you and your families safe and by backing our men and women in law enforcement, continuing our fight against gangs and human trafficking and standing up to the pro criminal anti-law enforcement polices of the far left, and it was also about making sure our kids recover from pandemic learning loss, and get the best education they can in a safe welcoming environment free from politics or divisive ideologies. As long as I’m your governor, we are going to continue to stand with our educators and put our students and our parents first.
And as you all know, we took our campaign to voters who normally don’t support Republicans because no matter where you live or what neighborhood you are from, hard working Georgians want their families safe, their streets safe and they want good paying jobs and a quality education for their children. Our message to voters was about making sure they had the opportunity to achieve the American dream right here in the Peach State no matter their zip code, each day of this race we talked about how Marty the girls and I think we live in the best state in the 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.
The people in this room and hardworking Georgians all across our state know these last four years have not been easy because of a global pandemic -- loved ones were lost, jobs were cut, businesses struggled and lives were uprooted. Nearly overnight, Americans from all walks of life were made to feel anxious, maybe even frightened for their future, their family’s future, and the future of our country. This was an unprecedented challenge we had never faced before -- there was no playbook, there was no widely accepted path forward, no silver bullet that could bring back our normal way of life. On top of that you add in the 2020 election pandemic politics and a lot of people that didn’t live here or vote here thinking they knew what was best for our state -- at one point or another the national media, Stacey Abrams, the healthcare pundits, far left activists, liberal donors, presidents -- both current and former, they all were attacking Georgia.
They opposed our measured approach to protecting both lives and livelihoods. According to the pundits and the so called experts, if you wanted to keep your barbershop open you were a risk to public health, if you didn’t want a government forcing you or your family to get vaccinated against your will you were part of the problem, if you wanted to keep your job as a waitress at a local restaurant, they told you it was too dangerous if you wanted to go worship in a church they said no, but you could go gamble in a casino. When parents wanted their kids back in the classroom instead of behind a screen, they listened to the national teachers union and the healthcare pundits who said "no," and as you know they didn’t stop there when we expanded days of early voting and made it easier to vote and hard to cheat with Senate bill 202 -- Georgia’s election integrity act, you remember, they called it Jim Crow 2.0, and Jim Crow with a suit and tie, according go the media, President Biden, and their far left allies. If you support photo ID on absentee ballots, you’re a racist, if you wanted access to secure ballot drop boxes and more opportunities to vote early on the weekend, they brought in the Department of Justice, and when you wanted to go to the Major League All-Star baseball game, right here in Atlanta, they put politics ahead of America’s pastime and cost our small businesses millions.
Y'all, they attacked Georgia, but I’m not sure they realized how hard we would fight back. You see, they didn’t know we were not going to be lectured by people who have no idea what it's like to clock into a hard days work. They came after us but the truth was on our side. They attacked us because even when times were tough and decisions were hard to make, we did the right thing for hard working Georgians and their families. We did not waver, we hunkered down and by God we kept chopping. And as you know, I didn’t listen to the pundits -- the so-called experts, the media or presidents, I listened to you.
I listened to you: The hard working people of this great state, because that's what I was elected to do. There is no doubt the challenges we faced together over the first three years of my term prepared Marty and the girls and I for this campaign, just like I told y’all on primary night back in May. We were outspent with over 90% of my opponents money coming from outside the state, just like in 2018 -- Stacey Abrams still had the big donors, the magazine covers, and the leftwing media. She had the talk show hosts, Hollywood celebrities, President Biden, and President Obama, and she even had Oprah again. But they ran into a big problem folks, despite all the fanfare, the money and the fame, they didn’t have you.
As a construction guy from Athens who started his first small business with a pickup truck and a shovel, 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. But I will tell you, just like in 2018, this family and I, we are all in together. As you all know there was a lot of people in high places who thought tonight’s victory would never happen, but just like so many times before, you all and team Kemp proved them wrong. The media, the national Democrats, those billionaire donors, the leftwing activists, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Oprah and Stacey Abrams threw everything they had at us for the second time in a row, but you know what we did y’all, we kept chopping and tonight we stopped Stacey and saved Georgia.
But, let me also make this clear -- the media here and around the world watching this race will try to make this victory about a lot of things. They’ll say it was about Joe Biden, they’ll say it was about Stacey Abrams, Donald Trump or even Brian Kemp, because that makes for flashy headlines and generates a lot of website clicks. But here’s the truth, this election was about you, it was about you the people of Georgia, the people who weathered the pandemic and emerged stronger than before, the people who came together and rejected the politics of divisor and hate, the people who stood up for what was right when everyone was watching because that’s who we are as a state regardless of politics. We want to live in a state where our dreams for ourselves and our families are possible, where a good paying job when you finish high school or college isn’t hundreds of miles away -- its right next door. When an entrepreneur can easily estate their own business to provide for themselves and their family, where you can protect and serve your community wearing a date and know that your citizens have your back.
And your governor and this family has it as well. Where you can retire in a safe neighborhood, worship freely, and watch your kids or your grandkids on Friday nights at the ball field -- that’s the Georgia I know and it’s one worth fighting for. Tonight, hard working Georgians from all walks of life spoke with a clear voice -- they know which direction they want their state to go, and it is forward. They want this team to keep putting them first, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Across the country tonight, we took the first step in saving America. This election proves that when Republicans stay focused on real world solutions that put hard working people first, we can win now, but also in the future y’all. So, I tell you let’s celebrate this historic victory, while knowing there’s still plenty of work to do. And I can promise you this family is going to stay in the fight. Thank y’all so much for your hard work and support. God bless you and God bless the great state of Georgia. Keep chopping.