Governor Brian Kemp holds up four fingers to indicate “four more years” as he speaks after winning the Republican primary during his primary election watch party in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. May 24, 2022.
Dustin Chambers | Reuters
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has secured another term, fending off Democrat Stacey Abrams in the duo’s second match-up, NBC News projected.
Kemp had consistently led Abrams, a strategist and former state House minority leader, in polls by a margin of more than 5 percentage points throughout the campaign. Unlike their last election, where Abrams lost by 1.4 percentage points, Kemp had a decided advantage this time as the incumbent governor with an above-water approval rating.
Abrams brought the issue of voting rights to the forefront of the national conversation after her loss to Kemp, spending the last four years helping other Democrats win public offices. Georgia voters in 2020 elected Democrats to both U.S. Senate seats and backed President Joe Biden.
Then-President Donald Trump called the state’s secretary of state, who oversees elections, and asked him to “find” enough votes to give Trump the win. State officials, including Kemp, refused to do Trump’s bidding and drew his ire when they certified Biden’s electoral college win in Georgia.
Trump actively, and unsuccessfully, campaigned against Kemp in the primary earlier this year, endorsing former U.S. Sen. David Perdue instead.
Though Abrams was instrumental in turning Georgia blue on the national level in 2020, Republicans have spent the last four years vilifying her in the eyes of moderate voters.
Republicans nationally saw the tide shift in their favor in the months leading up to the election as voters increasingly listed the economy and inflation as their top concerns over issues like abortion and combatting attacks on democracy. Abrams took flak two weeks before the election when she said on MSNBC that abortion was an economic issue.
Democrats had hoped reproductive rights would boost voter turnout after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in its June ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Abortion had already been an issue in Georgia. In 2019, state lawmakers attempted to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, around five or six weeks. That was overturned by a judge citing Roe.