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Kemp, Abrams tussle over politics in Georgia governor’s debate

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams offered different visions for Georgia during a heavy political debate Sunday at the couple’s final meeting as Georgians continue to vote ahead of the Nov. 8 election.

Kemp avoided an emphatic promise not to sign new abortion restrictions, saying “it’s not my desire to go and move the needle any further.” But he acknowledged that more restrictions could be passed by a Republican legislature, saying “we’ll look at those when the time comes.”

Abrams said, “Let’s be clear, he didn’t say he wouldn’t.”

Kemp criticized Abrams as being inconsistent about the restrictions she would support. Abrams argued that she had not changed her position and said she would support legal abortion until a fetus is viable outside the womb.

Kemp denied claims by Democrats that under Georgia’s abortion restrictions, which restrict most abortions after heart activity is detected in the womb, women could be prosecuted for abortions or having the under investigation after a miscarriage. The governor revealed his wife miscarried one of his twins, while the other survived to become his eldest daughter, calling it a “tragic and traumatic situation”.

Abrams, however, said that was up to local law enforcement and district attorneys and it was unclear whether local authorities would not attempt prosecution. “They shouldn’t be worried about the sheriff coming knocking on the door asking if they had an illegal abortion,” Abrams said of the women.

Kemp took credit for rising wages and low unemployment while blaming sustained inflation on the “disastrous” policies of Democrats in Washington, while Abrams skirted his party’s role in the federal government and pointed the finger at Kemp.

“We have the lowest unemployment rate in our state’s history,” he said. “We have the largest number of working people in our state’s history. We see economic opportunity in every region of our state.

Kemp touted his use of state and federal funds to suspend gasoline taxes and provide income tax refunds, reiterating his commitment to seek more income tax refunds as well as tax refunds land for a second term.

Abrams argued that Kemp’s economy did not stimulate enough Georgians. She pointed to his proposals to spend the state surplus on raises for teachers and some law enforcement officers, expand Medicaid, bolster child care programs for working parents, among other proposals.

“Right now people are feeling economic pain, and unfortunately under this governor that pain is getting worse,” Abrams said.

Kemp and Abrams drew even sharper distinctions on crime, with the Republican governor attempting to cast Abrams as a supporter of the “defund the police” movement and touting his endorsements from dozens of sheriffs across the state.

“He lies again. I never said I believed in defunding the police. I believe in public safety and accountability,” Abrams countered, pointing to his proposals to spend more on law enforcement with Kemp.

While Kemp highlighted his administration’s efforts to reduce gang activity and violence in Georgia, Abrams criticized the administration for not thinking “holistically” about the root causes of crime, which, he said, she noted, rose in Georgia during Kemp’s tenure.

“We are not the local police department. I am not the mayor. I am the governor,” Kemp retorted, adding that local law enforcement “knows I will support them.”

Sunday’s game was the third overall debate between the two rivals. They only met once in 2018, with then-Secretary of State Kemp skipping a second debate to attend a rally with then-President Donald Trump.

This year, Kemp has relied on his tenure, arguing his handling of the economy warrants another term. The Republican has made just a handful of proposals for a second term – more one-time tax cuts, a grant plan to help schools improve student performance and public safety proposals, including the requirement cash bail for more people arrested. Kemp married that thin package of proposals with attacks on Abrams, saying she doesn’t support enough police and “celebrity” too focused on out-of-state liberal donors.

Abrams says she has a better, longer-term view of Georgia’s economy, promising a much larger teacher salary increase than the $5,000 provided by Kemp, an expanded Medicaid program, increased access to employment contracts state for minority-owned small businesses and broader access to university aid. paid per play. She also argued that she would roll back abortion restrictions and relax gun laws that Kemp signed into law and prevent further changes.

Kemp is leading in most polls, but Abrams says his goal of getting infrequent Democratic voters out may be missed by the polls.

Unlike the first governor’s debate on Oct. 17, Sunday night’s event did not feature libertarian Shane Hazel, the third candidate on the ballot. Hazel has interrupted this debate several times trying to make her point because she hasn’t been asked as many questions. Hazel’s presence on the ballot means there may be a runoff on December 6, as Georgia law requires candidates to secure an absolute majority.

More than 4 million people could vote in state elections this year, and more than half are likely to vote before Election Day. More than 1.6 million people had voted up to Saturday and more than 1.7 million applied for mail-in ballots. Early in-person voting runs until Friday.


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