Governor Brian Kemp won re-election in Georgia, beating Stacey Abrams

Governor Brian Kemp won re-election in Georgia, beating Stacey Abrams

ATLANTA — Stacey Abrams conceded to Brian Kemp, the Republican governor of Georgia, Kemp’s campaign announced late Tuesday, ending a bitter, high-profile rematch of their 2018 contest.

Early Wednesday morning, the Associated Press called the race.

Mr. Kemp, who led the state while his party controlled both houses of the Georgia General Assembly, campaigned on conservative policy victories in his last four years, including waiving public health guidelines to keep Georgia businesses open during the Covid-19 pandemic. and passing legislation that would allow state residents to purchase firearms without a license. He also highlighted his suspension of the state gas tax and proposed using the more than $6 billion budget surplus to fund further tax breaks for residents.

The residual effects of the 2020 presidential election loomed over the race from the start.

Former President Donald J. Trump hired David Perdue, a former Republican senator, to challenge Mr. Kemp in the primary in retaliation for Mr. Kemp’s endorsement of a key victory for Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the state. But Mr. Kemp beat Mr. Perdue by more than 50 points, and Georgia conservatives quickly rallied around his general election campaign.

Mr Kemp has often found himself alongside several national party figures who have kept the former president at arm’s length – or estranged him entirely. Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia visited Georgia on Mr. Kemp’s behalf, as did Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona and former Vice President Mike Pence.

But Mr. Kemp kept his distance from other Georgia Republicans, namely Herschel Walker, a Senate candidate who has faced a barrage of negative stories about his professional and personal life, and lieutenant governor candidate Burt Jones, who has joined Mr. Trump’s list of fraudulent voters. after the 2020 election.

Ms. Abrams, his Democratic opponent, has sought to turn the race into a referendum on Mr. Kemp for the past four years, saying Mr. Kemp’s leadership has hurt low-income Georgians and people of color in the state. And after the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Ms. Abrams’ campaign focused on her rival’s support for a bill — now a law — that would ban abortions in Georgia after six weeks of pregnancy.

But her struggles with key constituencies — particularly swing voters in conservative-leaning suburban communities — have been a drag on her campaign. Her consistent appeal to blacks, the voting bloc she said would be the core of her victorious Georgia, was often criticized as pandering.

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