ATLANTA – Don’t be surprised if Stacey Abrams’ comments that Georgia is the “worst state in the country to live” will be used against her by Republicans in the Peach State’s gubernatorial general election campaign.
Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who narrowly defeated Abrams in the 2018 gubernatorial election and will likely face off with the nationally known voting rights advocate and rising star in the Democratic Party this November’s election, calls Abrams comments “disappointing.”
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Abrams, who faces no opposition in Tuesday’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, said on Saturday that “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,” during a speech at the Gwinnett Democrats’ Bluetopia Gala in Norcross, according to audio posted by the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Kemp, who enjoys a large lead over challenger former Sen. David Perdue in Tuesday’s Republican primary for governor according to the most recent polls, touted in a Fox News interview on Monday that “I’m so proud that we’re the number one state in the country for business. We’ve got the lowest unemployment state in the history of our state, the most people working.”
“I get up every morning and I’m just so thankful I’m the governor of this state and serving these resilient people and that we live in the greatest state in the country to live, work and raise our families. It’s disappointing she [Abrams] doesn’t think that but I love it,” Kemp emphasized.
Abrams acknowledged over the weekend that her statement would be “politicized” and further explained that her state has lots of room for improvement on issues like mental health and incarceration.
“Let me contextualize,” she said. “When you’re No. 48 for mental health, when we’re No. 1 for maternal mortality, when you have an incarceration rate that’s on the rise and wages that are on the decline, then you are not the No. 1 place to live.”
“Georgia is capable of greatness, but we need greatness to be in our governor’s office. We need someone who actually believes in bringing all of us in there together,” she added.
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Abrams, the first Black female to serve as a Democratic legislative leader in Georgia, later doubled down on her “worst state” comment on Twitter, writing that Kemp, “doesn’t care” about Georgians.
“GA may be #1 place for biz, but we’re #48 in mental health, #2 in uninsured. #1 in maternal mortality & new HIV cases, #9 in gun violence,” she wrote. “For too many, Kemp’s Georgia doesn’t include them. Why? Because #KempDoesntCare. As Governor, I’ll lead #OneGeorgia that’s #1 for all of us.”
Asked by Fox News if Abrams comments will show up in Kemp campaign commercials if he wins Tuesday’s primary, the governor said “we’ll see. I tell you I’ve heard a lot of people sending me messages about that, just can’t believe it. Especially from somebody that’s gone from owing taxes to now having two houses in the state. Surprising you would do that if you don’t really like our state or love our state like I do.”
And Kemp added that Abrams “can say whatever she wants to. I’m going to continue doing and saying what I promised I would do in 2018 and that’s exactly what I’ve done. I think that’s one reason we’re surging right now. We got to close it out tomorrow. The only poll that matters is the one tomorrow.”
The most recent surveys indicate Kemp holding a mid-single digit advantage over Abrams in a likely November rematch.