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EXCLUSIVE – Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia targets Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams over her comment last month that Georgia’s “the worst state in the country to live” in his first general election TV ad of their high profile and high stakes 2022 gubernatorial rematch.
The spot, which was shared first nationally with Fox News on Tuesday, touts that the governor “reopened Georgia first” after the coronavirus pandemic triggered restrictions from coast to coast and that Kemp has “kept Georgia the best place to live.”
The commercial, which the Kemp campaign says it is spending in the high six-figures to run on statewide TV and digital outlets, spotlights a clip of Abrams from a May 21 speech at the Gwinnett Democrats’ Bluetopia Gala in Norcross, Georgia, saying “I am tired of hearing about how we’re the best state in the country to do business when we are the worst state in the country to live.”
Abrams at the time acknowledged that her comment would be “politicized” and further explained that Georgia has lots of room for improvement on issues like mental health and incarceration. Three days later, on primary day in Georgia, Abrams told reporters that she stood by her previous remarks, which were quickly lambasted by Kemp and numerous other Republicans.
Abrams, who narrowly lost to Kemp in the 2018 gubernatorial election and who became a Democratic Party rising star and nationally known voting reform advocate, described her comment as an “inelegant delivery.” But she emphasized that she’ll continue to insist “that Brian Kemp is a failed governor who doesn’t care about the people of Georgia…if you look at his record, if you look at the result, under his four years of leadership, there has been failure after failure.”
After the clip of Abrams controversial comment is played in the Kemp ad, the narrator says “bless her heart” before touting that “Georgia leads the nation because Brian Kemp is governor.”
“He reopened Georgia first. Brought thousands of jobs. And Kemp has cut taxes to help families deal with Biden’s inflation. Brian Kemp has kept Georgia the best place to live,” the narrator argues.
While Kemp took aim at Abrams in his first post-primary ad, Abrams stayed positive in her first general election campaign spot, which went up a week and a half ago. The candidate highlighted in her ad that “I’ve brought Democrats, Republicans and Independents together.”
Ad spending in the Abrams-Kemp rematch by the campaigns, the candidates’ allied committees, the Republican Governors Association, the Democratic Governors Association and outside groups such as super PACs is expected to soar.
Abrams ran unopposed in last month’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, while Kemp won the GOP nomination by crushing his top challenger – former Sen. David Perdue – who was endorsed and heavily supported by former President Donald Trump.