Sunday’s one-on-one debate between Gov. Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams was mainly focused on crime, firearms, and public safety, with the Democratic challenger attempting to blame the incumbent for a surge in violent crime.
“I would advise folks to review the governor’s track record. In response to the first question about crime, Democrat Abrams stated that during his four years in office, both violent crime and gun violence have increased. “This is a statewide difficulty, and our governor is only paying attention to some aspects of the problem.”
Abrams responded that Kemp was “lying” when he claimed that Abrams was a part of the now-discredited “defund the police” movement. Kemp also mentioned his office’s attempts to work with local law enforcement to combat crimes such as street racing, gang violence, and gun violence.
And during the Sunday night debate, the Republican kept using the same line: “It appears Miss Abrams is going to criticize my record because she doesn’t want to speak about her own record.”
It amounted to a repeat of 2018, as it was the second and final debate between the two Georgia governor contenders before the election. Despite her national notoriety and financial prowess, Abrams has persistently behind Kemp in the polls by a margin much greater than the 1.4 percent margin by which she lost four years ago. The Abrams campaign probably felt let down if it was hoping for a turning point in the discussion that would change the outcome of the race.
Kemp made numerous attempts to persuade viewers that Abrams wanted to defund the police, citing an interview she gave to a cable news network in 2020 in which she stated she was in favor of diverting some funding from police personnel to other needs. This season, Kemp has already used this clip in advertisements.
He reaffirmed that Abrams serves on the board of a non-profit group that is not opposed to the “defund the cops” campaign, as he had in the first debate.
“I support public safety. I did not say anything, and I do not support cutting police spending, Abrams retorted. “He is lying once more. And I’ve never stated that I favor cutting the police’s money. I support accountability and public safety. In addition, I’d like you to review my 11 years in the state legislature.
And throughout the discussion, which was moderated by WSB-TV, she emphasized the work she has accomplished through other nonprofits, including the repayment of 68,000 Georgians’ medical debts and the installation of Wi-Fi hotspots to enable internet access in more than 100 locations across the state.
Kemp’s signature of a new gun law that makes it simpler to carry a concealed handgun in Georgia drew criticism from Abrams, who claimed that it cost Atlanta the chance to host the Midtown Music Festival due to worries about public safety.
The Democratic National Committee is now investigating Atlanta as a potential location for the 2024 convention, which Kemp disputed by pointing out that other sizable events had been place in the city since the statute was implemented.
Why would that be the case if conditions were so dire?
The two also argued back and forth about abortion and inflation, each candidate attempting to associate the other with more divisive figures in their own party. In reference to the Republican Senate candidate who opposes access to abortion yet has been charged with financing the abortions of two ex-girlfriends, Abrams claimed Kemp “defends Herschel Walker, but will not defend the women of Georgia.”
Kemp also compared Abrams to President Joe Biden on inflation, despite the fact that Biden’s approval ratings have been falling for months and that this cycle’s regular POLITICO/Morning Consult polling indicates that voters do not view him favorably when it comes to addressing economic matters.
Georgia has once more become a national focus, both for the governor’s race and the Senate race. If Abrams pulls off an unexpected victory in the contest, she would become the first Black woman governor of the nation. However, the contest for the Senate between Walker and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) is still close and will be crucial in determining which party holds the majority in the Senate in 2023.
Abrams has benefited from celebrity fly-ins on the campaign trail since early voting began. These supporters include former president Barack Obama, who held an early voting event in Atlanta on Friday night, actress Kerry Washington, and former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).
The early voting period for the November elections, which concludes on Friday, November 4, has seen more than 1.6 million Georgians cast their votes.
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