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Georgian governor's candidates draw contrasts but little fire in the first debate

Stacey Abrams, Democratic candidate for Georgia Governor, talks as her Republican opponent, Georgia's Foreign Minister Brian Kemp, looks at a…


Stacey Abrams, Democratic candidate for Georgia Governor, talks as her Republican opponent, Georgia’s Foreign Minister Brian Kemp, looks at a debate Tuesday in Atlanta. (John Bazemore / AP)

Candidates in the tough and popular Georgia governor competition were stuck in their respective political corners Tuesday evening in a debate that touched on some of the ideological departments that play at national level.

Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate hoping to be the nation’s first black female governor, talked about expanding Medicaid, as well as voters, accusing republican Brian Kemp, Georgia’s state secretary, of striking fear of the state’s growing minority population, making it harder to vote.

Kemp talked about lowering taxes and “putting Georgia first” criticized Abrams for wanting to allow some young, also-identified immigrants to participate in a state-funded scholarship program and say that she is encouragingly “illegal” to vote.

Everyone continually accused the other of misrepresenting their positions, but the long-term debate was not rancorou s and offered no surprises. Kemp and Abrams are in statistical death heat in the investigations with just two weeks before the election day. Libertarian candidate Ted Metz, who had about 2 percent support in a recent poll of the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Atlanta Channel 2, also participated in the debate. Seven percent of voters are undefined.

Kemp, like upset GOP establishment candidate Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in a run-up last summer after being approved by President Trump was less bombastic than he had been in primary when he ran television ads where he threatened to use his truck to round up “criminal illegals” and brandished a shotgun on a teenager to show his support for the second amendment.

But he stressed his strong conservative positions, vowing to cut taxes, be tough on crime and restrict services to illegitimate immigrants. He often used the words “extreme” and “radical” to describe Abram’s and her suggestions. He said that her proposed expanded government program would raise taxes and he warned that her call for Medicaid expansion would constitute “a public takeover of health care”, getting rid of private insurance, as well as Medicare. “You will not be able to choose who your doctor is,” he says, retrieving the arguments against the Affordable Care Act.

Abrams claimed that no less a conservative standard carrier than Vice President Pence had embraced Medicaid expansion when he was governor in Indiana. She also expressed confidence that she could get the majority Republican state legislature to approve the expansion, as she, as a former democratic leader in the state house, showed that she could work over time.

Kemp said he would increase salaries for teachers. Abrams demanded rebel for local police who said she was paid so little that they used food stamps to feed their families.

The debate came on the day when news reports began to circulate if Abrams participated in a 1992 student demonstration on which the state flag was burned. At that time, the banner contained a picture of the Confederate Flag, which is considered by many to represent the South’s resistance to ending slavery.

The first question for Abrams was about her participation in the protest, and she did not return from her action.

“Twenty-two years ago, as a college beginner, I became with many other Georgians … deeply disturbed by the racial discrimination embedded in the flag of the Confederate Symbol,” said Abrams. “I took an act of peaceful protest, and 10 years later, my opponent, Brian Kemp, actually voted to remove that symbol.”

Kemp did not answer, but he criticized Abram’s more than once to be behind her personal and corporate taxes. At the same time, he said that Abrams had loaned out his $ 50,000 campaign. “I do not think I could get away with it, and most of Georgia’s people could not get away with it,” he said, accusing Abrams of “policy transferring obligations”.

Abrams revealed several months ago she was behind her taxes and said she had helped financial aid to her family, including her father who was fighting cancer. “You can postpone your taxes, but you can not postpone cancer treatments,” she replied, adding that she had a repayment plan to settle her tax liability.

She also took a sweep on Kemp, which was voted by an investment company to refuse a $ 500,000 loan for an agricultural business. Kemp said the suit is against the company, not him personally.


Georgia’s Foreign Minister Brian Kemp, Center, the Republican Governor’s Association, speaks as Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams and Libertarian Ted Metz looks at a debate Tuesday in Atlanta. (John Bazemore / AP)

The two also voted for voting rights, which has become a focal point in the race, where Abrams aims to mobilize selectors of color that often do not participate in the middle of the election. The Associated Press reported this month that the registration of 53,000 potential voters had been held because their names or addresses did not accurately match information in motor vehicles or social security posts. His office is also on fire because hundreds of absentee polls have been rejected, with most of them thrown by minority voters. Several civil-law groups have brought an action against the State Secretary for the past two weeks.

Kemp defended his role as the state’s top election official, claiming that the number of voters has grown during his term of office and that voters whose registrations have been flagged still can vote if they give valid identification at the polls. In response to a question from one of the panelists, he said he did not need to resign or reuse himself from monitoring the election, as most election operations are handled at the county level by bipartisan boards.

“No one has made it easier to vote and harder to cheat in our state,” Kemp said, calling appeals on voter oppression “really outrageous”.

Abrams said the electoral blades have increased despite not because Kemp, who also has aggressively cleared voters, including half a million last year, about a quarter of them seemed to have been dropped simply because they did not vote in previous elections, according to a recent investigation of APM Reports.

“It’s not just about blocking people” from physical casting a vote, Abrams said, adding: “It’s about creating an atmosphere that their voices do not count.”

Metz criticized both candidates and offered as an alternative to voters “tired of his two-party system and the tyranny of the oligarchs.”

Asked how he would expand economic activity in rural Georgia. Metz embraced the possibilities of industrial hemp, as he said, had applications as different as helping to clean the air and making

“Everything can be done with hemp,” he said.

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