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Kemp and Abrams debate politics in Georgia gubernatorial debate | WGN 720 Radio

ATLANTA (AP) — Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams offered different views on Georgia in a political debate Sunday in the latest meeting as Georgians continue to vote ahead of the Nov. 8 election.

Kemp shied away from an emphatic pledge not to sign further abortion restrictions, saying “I don’t want to move the needle any further.” But he acknowledged that the Republican legislature could pass additional restrictions, saying “we will consider them when the time comes.”

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

Kemp criticized Abrams as being inconsistent about what restrictions she would support. Abrams has maintained that she has not changed her position and said she will support legal abortion until the fetus is viable outside the mother’s womb.

Kemp rejected claims by Democrats that under Georgia’s abortion restrictions, which restrict most abortions to after a heartbeat can be detected in the womb, women could be prosecuted for abortions or investigated after miscarriages. The governor revealed that his wife miscarried one of the twins, while the other survived to become his eldest daughter, describing it as a “tragic, traumatic situation”.

Abrams, however, said it’s up to local law enforcement and district attorneys, and that it’s not clear that local authorities won’t try to prosecute. “They don’t have to worry about the sheriff coming knocking on the door asking if they had an illegal abortion,” Abrams said of the women.

Kemp credited rising wages and low unemployment while blaming persistent inflation on “disastrous” policies by Democrats in Washington, while Abrams sidestepped her party’s role in the federal government and pointed the finger at Kemp.

“We have the lowest unemployment rate in the history of our state,” he said. “We have the largest number of people working in the entire history of our state. We see economic opportunities in all parts of our state.”

Kemp touted the use of state and federal funds to suspend gasoline taxes and pay for income tax credits, repeating his pledge to push for a bigger income tax and property tax break in his second term.

Abrams argued that Kemp’s economics did not encourage the Georgians enough. Among other proposals, she highlighted her proposals to spend the state’s surplus on pay raises for teachers and some law enforcement officers, to expand Medicaid, and to expand child care programs for working parents.

“People are feeling economic pain right now, and unfortunately, with this governor, that pain is getting worse,” Abrams said.

Kemp and Abrams drew an even sharper line on crime, with the Republican governor trying to brand Abrams as a supporter of the “police defunding” movement and touting his support from dozens of sheriffs across the state.

“He’s lying again. I never said that I believe in getting rid of the police. I believe in public safety and accountability,” Abrams responded, emphasizing her law enforcement spending proposals with Kemp.

While Kemp emphasized his administration’s desire to reduce gang activity and violence in Georgia, Abrams criticized the administration for not thinking “holistically” about the root causes of crime, which she noted has increased in Georgia during Kemp’s term.

“We are not the local police department. I’m not the mayor. I’m the governor,” Kemp responded, adding that local law enforcement agencies “know I’m going to hold them.”

Sunday’s match was the third overall debate between the two rivals. The two met only once in 2018, when Kemp, then secretary of state, skipped the second debate to attend a rally with then-President Donald Trump.

Kemp has been leaning on his position this year, arguing that his stewardship of the economy warrants another term. The Republican has made only a handful of second-term proposals — more one-time tax cuts, a grant plan to help schools improve student performance and public safety proposals, including requiring cash bail for more arrestees. Kemp combined that slim set of proposals with attacks on Abrams, arguing that she doesn’t support the police enough and “celebrity” is overly focused on liberal out-of-state donors.

Abrams claims she has a better long-term vision for Georgia’s economy, promising a much larger teacher pay raise than the $5,000 Kemp received, expanded Medicaid, greater access to government contracts for small and minority-owned businesses, and greater access to college aid. paid for by gambling. She also argued that she would repeal abortion restrictions and weaken the gun laws signed by Kemp and prevent further changes.

Kemp leads in most polls, but Abrams says her focus on turning infrequent voters away from Democrats may be missed by the polls.

Unlike the first gubernatorial debate on Oct. 17, Sunday night’s event did not feature Libertarian Shane Hazell, the third candidate on the ballot. Hazel interrupted the debate several times to try to make his point because he wasn’t being asked many questions. Hazel’s presence on the ballot means a runoff on Dec. 6 is not out of the question because Georgia law requires candidates to have 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 by Saturday, and more than 1.7 million had requested ballots by mail. Early in-person voting will be held on Friday.


Follow Jeff Amy at http://twitter.com/jeffamy.


Follow AP’s midterm election coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections.


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