'Battle for the soul of our state': Kemp, others sound off about Abrams' gubernatorial run

·3 min read

Following Stacey Abrams' gubernatorial campaign announcement on Wednesday, allies and rivals alike voiced their support and criticisms of her candidacy.

Abrams joins a race that includes two declared Republican candidates: Incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp, who defeated her in 2018 by 55,000, and former State Rep. Vernon Jones, a Democrat-turned-Republican and a vocal critic of Kemp.

Opinion: Abrams is in Georgia governor's race, salvaging hopes for Democrats to ride 'blue wave'

Abrams has come to command a far-reaching audience since her 2018 loss, garnering broad support among Democrats for her voter registration efforts and the sizable media coverage of her voter suppression accusations following the race against Kemp.

Abrams delivered the Democratic response to then-President Donald Trump's 2019 State of the Union, and in 2020 she was courted as a potential candidate for a Senate seat, and later as President Joe Biden's running mate.

Kemp, in return, hasn't really stopped campaigning against her. When Major League Baseball pulled the All-Star Game out of Atlanta over his signing of Georgia's controversial voting bill, he blamed Biden and Abrams by name.

Here's what Kemp and others had to say about her 2022 candidacy.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp

"With Stacey Abrams in control, Georgia would have shut down, students would have been barred from their classrooms, and woke politics would be the law of the land and the lesson plan in our schools. Her far-left agenda of open borders, gun confiscation, high taxes, and anti-law enforcement policies don’t reflect who we are as Georgians. Stacey’s never-ending campaign for power has already hurt Georgia businesses and cost our state millions – all in service to her ultimate ambition of becoming president of the United States. Next November’s election for governor is a battle for the soul of our state. I’m in the fight against Stacey Abrams, the failed Biden agenda, and their woke allies to keep Georgia the best place to live, work and raise a family.”

Vernon Jones, Republican candidate for governor

"Today, Stacey Abrams joined the race for governor with plans to introduce the same failed, liberal agenda in Georgia that is hurting Americans in every corner of the country. Radical leftists like Stacey Abrams are why I left the Democrat Party, and the last thing I will allow them to take is our beloved state. That is why I am running for governor.

"In 2018, Brian Kemp defeated Stacey Abrams by the skin of his teeth. And in 2020, he betrayed us. In 2022, we cannot afford to cut it so close. I am the only candidate in the race for governor who can grow the party, defeat Stacey Abrams, and take Georgia back."

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson

“I am beyond excited that Georgia voters will have the opportunity to reflect on the record of Brian Kemp and determine whether we can do better. Georgia is different than it was four years ago, certainly when you see the national impact of Stacey Abrams dealing with the issues that matter to Georgians.”

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock

"Stacey Abrams is a champion for Georgia. As governor, she'll continue to fight for the priorities that are important to all of us here in our state."

Will Peebles is the enterprise reporter for Savannah Morning News. He can be reached at wpeebles@gannett.com and @willpeeblessmn on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Savannah Morning News: How people are reacting to Stacey Abrams running for Georgia governor

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