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Stacey Abrams, Brian Kemp express future plans for Georgia gubernatorial race  

Get to know where each candidate stands on major issues before the November 6 election

By: Mikayla Chess 

October 30, 2018

Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp continue to campaign for the office of Gov. Nathan Deal. As the election approaches, both candidates have put forth plans concerning issues such as gun control, immigration, civil rights, abortion, healthcare, education and crime.

Gun safety

Kemp: Opposes new gun restrictions and backs “constitutional carry,” which would let gun owners conceal and carry handguns without a permit. He proposed a sales tax holiday for guns and ammunition. Kemp also wants to end some “gun-free” zones. He has an A+ rating by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun rights voting record.


Kemp has also been heard in one of his campaign ads saying, “Respect the Second Amendment if you want to date my daughter.”

Abrams: Supports stricter gun laws, including universal background checks for private sales of firearms and a repeal of the “campus carry” legislation that allows permit holders to carry weapons on college campuses. She believes the state of Georgia should enact reasonable restrictions on guns.


Abrams is rated 7% by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun control voting record, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


Abrams seeks to repeal extreme-risk protection orders; support protections and services for victims of domestic violence; invest in mental health services; and support community and hospital programs to stop the cycle of gun violence. Abrams can be seen expressing her stance in campaign ads on Twitter.

Brian Kemp was born and raised in Athens, Georgia, and is married to his high school sweetheart, Marty Argo. // Credit: NewsMax



Abrams: Plans on expanding reproductive freedom to underserved areas. She opposes further abortion restrictions and Planned Parenthood endorsed her during the primaries. Click here to read more about Abrams’ plans to address abortion.


Kemp: Pledged to enact nation’s toughest abortion restrictions. He adopted this position hours after Mississippi enacted a law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks. Click here to read more about the law and Kemp’s plans to address abortion.

Health care


Kemp: Stands for a free market replacement of the Affordable Care Act. As governor, Kemp will craft a Georgia-focused health care solution that lowers costs on premiums and prescription drugs while increasing access for Georgia families. He will fund mental health services, protect rural hospitals and tackle the doctor shortage with more residency slots and better incentives for rural physicians.


Abrams: Abrams’ health care vision entails standing for the expansion of Medicaid in Georgia; lowering premiums; supporting and safeguarding women’s health and a woman’s right to choose; leveraging state and federal programs to incentivize more doctors and medical personnel to work in underserved areas; ensuring our system provides robust support for elderly Georgians; and funding critical mental health services throughout Georgia so that individuals can have their needs addressed by the health care system rather than the criminal justice system. Abrams also wants the Affordable Care Act to cover abortions.

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Brian Kemp has received widespread media attention in the past for his controversial campaign advertisements. // Credit: AJC



Kemp: Calls gang violence a public safety “crisis” and plans to create a new unit in the state attorney general’s office devoted to fighting crime. He also opposes in-state cultivation of medical marijuana. Kemp will stand with prosecutors and law enforcement to dismantle gangs and shutdown cartels and plans to end sex trafficking and punish sex predators.


Abrams: Abrams’ criminal justice vision pledges to eliminate the use of cash bail for some poor defendants and supports taking steps to decriminalize marijuana. Abrams also supports expanding accountability for courts and ending capital punishment. She supports effective community policing to build trust and keep communities safe; fines rather than jail time for small amounts of marijuana; and increased diversion and re-entry programs.

The forthcoming election

If elected, Abrams or Kemp will serve one term until Georgia’s next gubernatorial election in 2022, when she or he will have the opportunity to run for re-election. During his or her time as governor, he or she will have the opportunity to:


  • Be a "conservator of peace" and the "commander-in-chief of the military forces" within Georgia.

  • Uphold and execute all laws. There is a gubernatorial veto, which the legislature may override by a two-thirds majority in both chambers.

  • Deliver a 'State of the State' to the General Assembly and make recommendations for laws.


Other duties and privileges of the office include:


  • Issuing writs for special elections whenever either the House or Senate has a vacancy.

  • Convening extraordinary sessions of the Assembly, not to exceed 40 days, as well as emergency sessions.

  • Filling vacancies in all offices where the manner is not otherwise prescribed, subject to Senate confirmation.

  • Requiring information from other constitutional officers and members of the executive on any aspects of their jobs and duties.

View the Oct. 23 debate between Georgia gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp above. // Credit: 11Alive



Abrams: Believes that colleges need not act as immigration enforcement officers. She opposed Georgia House Bill 87, a crackdown on illegal immigration that lawmakers approved in 2011, saying it has “harmed our immigrant and refugee communities.” For more information on Abrams stance on immigration, click here.


Kemp: Emphasizes that Georgia’s interests should be put first over immigrants’, supports cracking down on illegal immigration and believes immigrant driver licenses should not be issued to prevent immigrants from voting fraudulently. Kemp also supports checking immigration status after minor offenses and has proposed to create a database for tracking unauthorized immigrants with criminal convictions and for speeding up their deportations, according to On The Issues.

Civil rights


Kemp: Is against bigotry but believes monuments are history, according to On the Issues. Kemp has also pledged to sign a “religious liberty” measure during his primary campaign. After winning the nomination, Kemp said he would veto any measure that veers from the federal religious liberty measure, known as the “Religious Freedom and Restoration Act,” that became law in 1993.


Abrams: Believes there should be no discrimination, including against LGBTQ people, and wishes for confederate history to be memorialized in museums rather than public monuments.

Abrams has expressed that her plans are to champion robust anti-discrimination laws to advance protections for all workers; work collaboratively with legislators to ensure that protections against harassment are strong, comprehensive and just; and reform the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity into the Georgia Commission on Human Rights, which will set clear pathways for harassment complaints and be a referral point for Georgia workers.

If elected governor of Georgia Nov. 6, Stacey Abrams will be the state's first African-American female governor. // Credit: The New York Times


Abrams: Supports “historic investment” in affordable, high-quality child care for all families through the Bold Start Scholarship Program and wants to fully fund our public schools and protect them from privatization. Abrams also wants to give educators the tools they need to teach properly, empower the parents of students and respect students’ diverse needs.

Abrams will also prioritize safe schools, wraparound support and children’s mental health services. Abrams also supports strengthening pathways to debt-free graduation at every skill level through HOPE expansion, tuition-free technical college, need-based financial aid, and additional programs. Opportunities for youth civic engagement and summer employment with the establishment of the Governor’s Youth Council is also a priority for Abrams.


Kemp: Would support the “school choice” effort by doubling the state tax credit for student scholarship organizations and boosting funding for charter schools.


The husband of a former Pre-K teacher, Kemp supports early childhood education, pay raises for teachers, local control, school choice. He also aims to safeguard the HOPE Scholarship and ensure it’s available to all Georgians. Kemp also plans reduce the mandates and paperwork on educators and put students ahead of the status quo.

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Candidate Stacey Abrams has said in the past that, if elected governor of Georgia on Nov. 6, she will be Georgia's "Public Education Governor" and support the expansion of Medicaid. // Credit: The New Yorker

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