Either Stacey Abrams or Brian Kemp will soon become Georgia’s 83rd governor. Abrams, the Democratic candidate for governor, is a native of Madison, Wisconsin. Kemp, the Republican candidate for governor, was born in Athens and is a lifelong Georgia native.
Abrams came to Georgia by way of Gulfport, MS where she grew up. She is a graduate of Avondale High School, Spellman College, and earned a Master of Public Affairs degree at the University of Texas and a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School.
Kemp graduated from Athens Academy and from the University of Georgia where he majored in agriculture. He was appointed by Governor Sonny Perdue as the Secretary of State to succeed Karen Handel and was subsequently elected to that position in 2010 and again in 2014.
Abrams served as minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017. She holds the distinction of being the first black female major party gubernatorial nominee in the United States.
It has been interesting to see how this race has developed. It is obvious that Abrams has attracted considerable attention from outside Georgia. As early as April the Democratic nominee was getting the celebrity treatment from Hollywood actresses Uzo Aduba, Aisha Hinds, Rashida Jones, and Tracee Ellis Ross who accompanied her on a five-city bus tour.
Earlier this month John Legend, American singer, songwriter, and actor, came to Georgia to speak to students at Georgia Tech on her behalf and later that night hosted a fundraising concert for Abrams.
Will Ferrell has been on the campaign trail for Abrams and multiple reports indicated that he has gone door-to-door stumping for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate. His campaigning included stops at Kennesaw State University and the Varsity in Kennesaw where he urged his hearers to canvas for Abrams.
According to the Marietta Daily Journal Chelsea Handler, another celebrity from Los Angeles, came to Georgia and the newspaper reported that Handler and Ferrell “got political in separate appearances.” Handler has also endorsed Abrams for governor. The Washington Post reported that she abandoned her Netflix talk show to pursue political activism, insisting that the Trump presidency was the primary motivating factor.
Handler, who has admitted that she had two abortions when she was sixteen, has joined forces with an abortion rights women’s political action committee, in hopes of electing more women into public office. She has also become vocal about LGBT rights and gun control. She has frequently shared stories about her one-night stands, DUI, and relationship with alcohol.
Also hitting the campaign trail with Abrams this week will be Oprah Winfrey. Former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden along with Massachuetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker have already made campaign stops for Abrams in Georgia as well.
In order to shore up Abram’s bid for the state’s highest political office, President Obama is returning to Atlanta on Friday to speak at Morehouse College. Twelve locations were established to provide two free tickets to the event. One ticket distribution site was on Cherokee Street near Kennestone Wellstar hospital in Marietta and on Wednesday afternoon people were lined up for blocks to secure a ticket to the event. The long line attested to the enduring popularity of the former president.
According to the AJC Blog, Political Insider, “Stacey Abrams took a swing through New York to raise more cash for her campaign for governor. She met with former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and shared cookies with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo before hitting a fundraiser on billionaire Barry Diller’s yacht.”
Abrams, who apparently has great self-confidence, has had no problem seeking donations and endorsements from high-powered politicians and notable celebrities from outside of Georgia. The Republican gubernatorial candidate has also had endorsements from noteworthy members of his party including Vice President Mike Pence. On Sunday President Donald Trump will come to Georgia in an effort to boost the political fortunes of Brian Kemp.
Kemp, however, seems to have designed his campaign strategy to meet and greet the citizens of Georgia and has traveled the highways and byways of the Peach State in an effort to speak to farmers and factory workers and business owners from Ringgold to St. Marys.
On Tuesday Kemp showed up at Truett McConnell University to join the students for their weekly chapel service. (Stacey Abrams has been invited to a meet and greet event at the university, but as of the publication of this editorial her campaign had not responded to the invitation). The Republican gubernatorial candidate was accompanied by Governor Nathan Deal, U. S. Congressman Doug Collins, and Georgia Senator Steve Gooch as well as other dignitaries.
Kemp’s wife, Marty and two of their daughters were also present for the chapel service. They participated in the worship music provided by the TMU praise team led by James Dollar, who is also the worship pastor of the Concord Baptist Church in Clermont.
Dr. Anthony George, senior associate pastor of First Baptist Church Atlanta presented a strong and timely message based on James 4 about planning one’s life according to God’s will. The response to the message was heartwarming and blessed of God. The Kemp family seemed to feel at home in the chapel atmosphere of the George Blaurock Center at Truett McConnell University.
I have neither followed Ms. Abrams nor Mr. Kemp in their campaign stops, but it appears that Georgians have a clear choice for governor. One is buoyed by out-of-state celebrities and fund raisers on yachts. The other has found his support from common folks who cherish family values, the sanctity of life, and religious liberty.