I am a big fan of Gov. Brian Kemp (R – Ga.) since he ran for governor in 2018. Kemp’s first term was marked as a success with a conservative agenda.
Kemp’s first tenure saw the Peach State pass a law restricting abortions, ensuring election integrity, increasing minority voter participation in the process, reducing taxes, and passing constitutional carry.
John McCormack writes in National Review that Kemp’s 8-point win in November 2022 is one of the best results for pro-lifers post-Dobbs. “Kemp passed a law that set a six-week abortion limit that would be in place on Election Day in 2022. Despite millions of dollars being spent by Democrats, this did not seem to have a significant impact on Kemp’s victory in a purple state that Donald Trump won in 2020.”
Georgia is a great state for small and large businesses. Despite the image that the media gives it (ahem National Review), Georgia has a conservative streak outside of urban areas.
Kemp’s conservative record and solid leadership haven’t been overlooked. According to a new Morning Consult survey, Kemp’s approval rating is at a record high as of March.
Only a third disapprove of his job. This is a net +27 and Morning Consult says that this puts him outside of the top 10 most-popular governors.
Kemp’s tenure has not been without controversy. I know of people who are still upset about a Rivian Plant being built east of metro Atlanta. The leaders of “Buckxit”, however, are angry at Kemp for the lack of state support.
Kemp has faced two formidable opponents in the last few years: Donald Trump, and Stacey Abrams. Kemp refused to accept Trump’s story of a stolen election, so the former president stepped in and put up a list of pro-Trump candidates.
McCormack notes that “Kemp governed as an ardent conservative on other issues, and angered Donald Trump by refusing Trump’s attempts to try to reverse the results of the election in 2020.” “Kemp defeated Trump’s GOP primary opponent and former senator David Perdue in 2022 by 52 points.”
Kemp defeated Perdue in the same way that all other incumbent Republicans statewide held off their Trump-backed opponents. Herschel Walker lost the Senate general election and is now the Lt. Governor. Burt Jones and Trump’s other chosen candidates won their primaries because they did not face incumbents. Jones, I believe, could have taken on the then-Lt. Governor. Geoff Duncan would have won if he had run for re-election.
Kemp won the general elections with ease, but Abrams took him to the 2018 runoff. Abrams began to believe the media hype that she was the future of Georgia. She proved her leftist credentials. Kemp was able to beat Abrams by eight points, despite her leftward shift and Kemp’s popularity among black voters. In November, every statewide GOP candidate won easily, except Walker.
What is the future of Kemp? He has built a powerful political machine in Georgia. While he insists that his only ambition is to serve as Georgia’s governor, speculation about what he will do next has been rife. He’s formed a PAC and rumor has it that he may run for Senate after his second term. One Democrat even suggested that the GOP nominate him for the White House by 2024.
Kemp’s future plans are uncertain, but one thing is certain: he will continue to govern Georgia as a conservative.