ATLANTA – The candidates in the close attention of the Governor of Georgia hammered each other Tuesday night in a debate broadcast live at Georgia Public Broadcasting stations and streamed on Facebook Live and on the Web.
Within a few minutes of the start, the debate was interrupted briefly by a fire alarm in the studio. But soon the candidates returned to the air, sparring heated over the issues of Medicaid expansion, their personal economic stories and voters registration.
The debate was the first time Georgia’s voters had a chance to see the main candidates ̵
1; Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp – head-to-head in what has been a close, hard-fought and potentially historic race. The Libertarian candidate in the competition, Ted Metz, also participated.
Ms. Abrams, the Democrat, is a former minority leader in the State House of Representatives; If she wins, she would be the first black woman to become governor of a US state. Kemp, the Republican, who is white, is Georgia’s secretary; if he wins, it will underline his party’s lasting strength in a southern state that has not elected a Democratic governor since 1998.
Part of the debate focused on Kemp, criticized for a long list of actions as his critics say has either prevented or discouraged people, especially nonwhites, from voting. A recently published press report showed that, according to a team supported by Kemp, his office has now more than 50,000 voter registrations, most of them black because of experienced problems with their registration methods.
“Under Secretary Kemp, more people have lost voting rights in Georgia,” said Abrams. “They have been cleansed, they have been suppressed and they have been afraid.”
Mr. Kemp claims, as he used to, that he actually made it easier to vote in Georgia. “If you look at the numbers, the minority participation in Georgia is up 23 percent,” he said. “We have one million more people on our voters today than we had when I was employed.”
The assertions of the oppressor’s suppression, he said, was “a father” intended to distract from what he called “Ms. Abram’s extreme agenda, including suggestions that he characterized as” a state takeover of care. “
Ms Abrams has urged Georgia to expand its Medicaid program according to the affordable care that other states have, and she defended the thought again Tuesday night, pointing out that Vice President Mike Pence had done it when he was governor of Indiana.
Mr. Kemp did not raise one 1992 event that has been in the latest news release, where Abrams burned the Georgia flag in a protest. At that time, the flag of the state contained the Confederate Battle Flag symbol, a design approved by a credible segregationist legislature in the 1950s. The flag has since been changed.
But a journalist on the panel asked Mrs Abrams about it. “Twenty-six years ago, like a college freshman, I became, along with many other Georgians including the governor of Georgia, deeply disturbed by the racial discrimination embedded in the flag of the state with the Confederate Symbol, “Abrams replied. “I took an action of peaceful protest, I said it was wrong, and 10 years later, my opponent Brian Kemp actually voted to remove that symbol,” she said, referring to Kemp’s official in the state senate.
The debate format contained a round of questions like the candidates level on each other. Many of these issues were bankruptcy and sought a rival view of an accusation as the level of the other, leading to recalls and re-rebuttals that sometimes seemed to shorten a short distortion to the moderator.
A second debate is scheduled for November 4, before the election day.
Although Mr Metz’s chance of winning the competition can be slim if he can attract more than one mood, he can deny both Kemp and Ms. Abrams a major majority and force them into a runoff in December. Mr Metz, a former insurance industry worker, spoke of the myriad benefits of industrial hemp and said that his voice would be a protest against the “oligarchs who run the planet.”