Nov. 8, 2022 Governor




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+Brian Kemp (R) i
Stacey Abrams (D)
Shane Hazel (L)


Registration: 6,953,485.  Ballots Cast: 3,964,926.
Plurality: 297,899 votes (7.53 percentage points)

 GA Secretary of State

Gov. Brian Kemp (R) survived the ire of former President Trump and defeated Stacey Abrams (D) in a rematch (1, 2, 3).  Also on the November ballot was Shane Hazel (L), a Marine Corps veteran and producer/host of the Radical podcast, who was the party's 2020 U.S. Senate nominee Purdue/Ossoff race.

Kemp, Abrams and Hazel debated at
the Atlanta Press Club Loudermilk-Young Debate Series at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta on Oct. 17 (>), and Kemp and Abrams debated at WSB-TV Channel 2 studios in Atlanta on Oct. 30 (>).

This was the most expensive Georgia governor's race and one of the more expensive gubernatorial races of the 2022 cycle; AP reported the two sides raised over $170 million.  However, post-election reporting by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution documented wasted spending by the Abrams campaign.

The 2020 election was not forgotten.  On Mar. 25, 2021 Kemp signed into law S.B. 202, a 98-page bill "to comprehensively revise elections and voting (>)."  Also, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis was in the midst of conducting an investigation into whether Trump and his allies illegally sought to influence the 2020 election in Georgia.  On May 2, 2022 a special grand jury was seated with subpoena powers; in the succeeding months it heard from many high profile figures.

During the early voting period from Oct. 17 to Nov. 4 more than 2.2 million Georgians voted in-person, a record for a midterm election (>).

Republican Primary with National Implications
Kemp became a target for Trump in the weeks following the Nov. 2020 election, after he declined to use emergency powers to overrule
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the counting of the votes (>), failed to call a special session, and did not do enough to prosecute voter fraud.

One consequence of the post-election imbroglio was a wide-ranging, controversial 95-page election overhaul bill, SB 202 the "Election Integrity Act of 2021," which among its provisions gave the legislature effective control of State Board of Elections and instituted restrictions on absentee ballots.  Democrats argued the bill amounted to voter suppression, but Kemp signed it into law on Mar. 25, 2021.
Although targeted by Trump, as the incumbent governor Kemp was able to build a strong grassroots organization for his re-election bid.  His campaign "rolled out its network of grassroots leaders across all 159 counties" in May 2021, officially launched with a rally at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry on July 10, and announced numerous endorsements in the latter part of the year.  On April 16, 2021, former state Rep. Vernon Jones, a Democrat-turned-Republican Trump supporter entered the race, but without Trump's endorsement.  Trump recruited Perdue, who announced his entry into the race in a Dec. 6, 2021 video (>), arguing that Kemp "has failed all of us and  cannot win in November.  Instead of protecting our elections, he caved to Abrams and cost us two Senate seats, the Senate majority and gave Joe Biden free rein."  Trump endorsed Perdue the same day (+).  Jones ended his campaign in Feb. 2022 and switched to running for Congress, setting up the Kemp-Perdue face-off.  Also on the May 24 Republican ballot were educator Kandiss Taylor, Catherine Davis, and Tom Williams. 

Kemp and Perdue debated on April 26 (>) and April 28 (>); all five candidates participated in the Atlanta Press Club debate on May 1 (>).  Trump rallied with endorsed candidates including Perdue on March 26 (>).  Other Republican political figures rallied for Kemp and for Perdue including former Vice President Mike Pence with Kemp on May 23 (>) and former Gov. Sarah Palin with Perdue on May 20.  Trump also called in to a tele-rally for Perdue on May 23. 

In Georgia, voters can vote in the primary of their choice, and, as Abrams was unopposed
[PDF], there was some crossover voting by Democrats to vote in the Republican primary.  All told 1.2 million voters cast ballots in the Republican primary and over 700,000 in the Democratic primary.  The result was a rout (>); Kemp won 73.7% of the vote to 21.8% for Perdue, dealing a significant setback to Trump and his stolen election narrative.

Campaign Managers:
Brian Kemp: 
Bobby Saparow
(Jan. 2021)  President of RMS Strategies in Marietta from July 2015.  Chief of staff to Rep. Drew Ferguson, June 2017-Jan. 2021.  Campaign manager on Drew Ferguson for Congress (GA), Feb.-Nov. 2016.  Southeastern regional director on Carson America, June 2015-Feb. 2016.  Deputy campaign manager on Rick W. Allen for Congress (GA), June-Nov. 2014.  Finance consultant to Matt Rosendale for Montana, Feb.-June 2014.  Finance director (Nov. 2013-June 2014) and director of operations (Jan.-Nov. 2013) on Gingrey for Congress (GA).  Regional manager for the North Carolina Republican Party, Aug. 2012-Jan. 2013.  Regional political director for Greensboro/Winston-Salem on Romney for President, June-Aug. 2012.  Regional political director on Montanans for Rehberg, Jan.-June 2012.  Intern with the SC Republican Party, July 2011-Jan. 2012.  B.A. in political science, history from University of South Carolina, 2011.

Stacey Abrams:  Lauren Groh-Wargo
CEO of Fair Fight Action, a revitalized version of New Georgia Project founded by Abrams after the 2018 campaign.  Campaign manager on Abrams' 2018 campaign. 
Served as Abrams' top aide at her two foundations, Third Sector Development (which ran the New Georgia Project) and Voter Access Institute.  Deputy executive director at the Ohio Democratic Party, 2009-Apr. 2011.  Southwest Ohio regional director for America Votes.  Worked on a school levy campaign in Cincinnati.  Organized tenants to fight their landlords for better living conditions in Brooklyn, New York.  Undergraduate degree in economics from American University.  Grew up near Cleveland, OH.

See also:
Greg Bluestein.  "How Abrams’ campaign spending led to ‘incredibly bad’ cash crunch."  Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dec. 27, 2022.

Greg Bluestein.  "From boos to blowout: How Brian Kemp beat Stacey Abrams again  "  Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Nov. 9, 2022.

Jeff Amy.  "Record fundraising in Georgia governor's race nears 170 million."  Associated Press, Nov. 2, 2022.

Molly Ball.  "Brian Kemp's Revenge."  Time, Oct. 7, 2022.

Jeff Amy.  "Abrams raises $85M in Georgia governor race, outpacing Kemp."  AP, Oct. 6, 2022.

Jeff Amy.  "Abrams-Kemp slugfest promises to be pricey, long and ugly."  AP, May 26, 2022.

Michael Warren.  How Brian Kemp wrote the GOP playbook for subduing Trump's election fury."  CNN, May 25, 2022. 

Reid Epstein and Shane Goldmacher.  "Perdue Had Trump. In Georgia, Kemp Had Everything Else."  New York Times, May 24, 2022.

Alex Isenstadt.  "'We're going to go f---ing scorched earth': How Brian Kemp crushed Trump in Georgia."  Politico, May 24, 2022.

James Salzer.  "As primary neared, Kemp took in big money and Perdue's fundraising lagged."  Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 24, 2022.

Greg Bluestein.  FLIPPED: How Georgia Turned Purple and Broke the Monopoly on Republican Power.  Viking, Mar. 22, 2022.