ATLANTA — The two top candidates for Georgia governor made their case Thursday for an election that will take place eleven months from now. This came after Democrat Stacey Abrams announced her candidacy Wednesday.
Abrams faces the challenge of winning an election she tried but couldn’t win in 2018. Republican Governor Brian Kemp faces challenges not only from Abrams but from within his own party.
"I’ve been preparing for this fight for three years. And we’re ready for it," Kemp told reporters Thursday, saying that his campaign will focus on the state’s humming economy and the tightrope he said he successfully walked during the pandemic.
"You have to remember I’m the person that opened our economy back up after never closing most of it. I’m the person that wanted to keep our schools open and wanted to keep our kids in the classroom," Kemp said. "The other crowd, they wanted to close all that down."
But it’s still not clear if Kemp will face Abrams. Former President Donald Trump is the biggest reason. Trump called Kemp "a complete disaster" during a rally in Perry in September. "Stacey, would you like to take his place? It's ok with me," Trump added during the rally, half-jokingly.
Trump is still angry with Kemp because the governor declined to join Trump's false descriptions of a fraudulent election in Georgia in 2020. Trump also wants Republican and former Senator David Perdue to take on Kemp. Former Democrat Vernon Jones is already challenging Kemp
"Kemp has been very ineffective as a governor and I think for the sake of the state of Georgia, he should bow out of the race," Fox News host Sean Hannity, a Trump confidant, told viewers just hours after Abrams formally announced her re-election bid Wednesday.
"I can’t control what other people are saying," Kemp said Thursday. "If other people are making noise they can certainly do that. I know they're worried about television ratings and other things. But I’m worried about one rating and that's election day November 2022."
Abrams has no Democratic challenger. She can focus solely on Kemp – and an election 11 months away.
"His push for anti choice legislation is going to not only hurt women it’s going to continue to hurt jobs in our state," Abrams said of Kemp in an interview with 11Alive News Thursday. "His egregious attack on voting rights is a terrible legacy for a state that should be leading on voting rights and voter access."