A glimpse into the upcoming Georgia gubernatorial election


Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp speak at a debate in Atlanta, Georgia for the Gubernatorial Elections. (Courtesy of USA Today)

On Nov. 8, 2022, Georgia voters will elect a governor, either Democrat Stacey Abrams or Republican Brian Kemp. Americans nationwide are eagerly anticipating this election, as Georgia’s position as a swing state makes it a key predictor of the 2024 presidential election. 

Brian Kemp is the current governor of Georgia and will be running for a second term. He ran against Stacey Abrams in a close election in 2018 to secure his position as governor. Now as his term ends in January, Georgia voters await to see whether this race will result in the same outcome as four years ago.

This race is particularly important because of the issues on the ballot, including abortion rights, gun violence, climate change, and voting rights. Kemp leans toward the right side of the political spectrum while Abrams tends to be more liberal. 

Throughout her campaign this year, Abrams has highlighted the importance of voting rights in all communities around Georgia. She ran unopposed in the May primaries and has received attention nationwide for her activism surrounding voting rights. She is running on a platform of the belief that everyone should have access to a ballot and exercise their right to vote. Abrams established her own voting organization, Fair Fight, to create progress on this issue. Abram’s campaign has also emphasized the importance of gun regulations and access to abortion rights in Georgia. 

“Of course, her position on numerous progressive issues is what I think is important. I think that she’s already proven that she’s dedicated to the people in the state,” said senior Young Democrats leader Abby Warshauer. 

Warshauer also said that she believes Abrams is fulfilling her obligation as a public servant, something she has demonstrated through all of her activism and advocacy for Georgians.

Kemp has gained the support of his voters for other reasons. He defeated former Republican senator David Purdue in the May primaries. A key platform throughout his past term and his current campaign is his focus on Georgia’s economy. In his campaign he mentions the importance of managing Georgia’s competitive tax environment, supporting small businesses, and maximizing taxpayer value with more conservative budgeting. He has demonstrated these beliefs through his governing during COVID-19 lockdowns; the majority of Georgia’s economy stayed open throughout the height of the global pandemic. 

“For me and for many of the other members of the club, we definitely share a lot of this view about Brian Kemp,” said senior Young Conservatives leader Savannah Rossin. “What we really liked was his way of navigating the COVID situation and keeping the Georgia businesses open. I know that was very controversial, obviously at the beginning, but just helping the economy and stimulating it was something that people really respected him for.” 

Kemp has also mentioned the importance of supporting small businesses and strengthening the rural areas in Georgia.

Part of what makes this race so intriguing is the larger political implications of this election. In the 2020 presidential election Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate, won Georgia. This outcome was unexpected as Georgia has historically leaned toward the conservative side of the political spectrum. Georgia is regarded as a “swing state,” as it often switches between a conservative and liberal inclination. The result of the upcoming governor’s election will provide some insight into how Georgia might vote in the 2024 presidential election. 

Given the complicated political situation that surrounded the 2020 presidential election, it is hard to tell what factors are influencing voters’ ballots. 

“In this case, I think it’ll be particularly difficult, because if we’re seeing Democrats vote for Raffensperger, because they just feel like what he did was honorable or patriotic, and they never vote for another Republican again, then it’s pretty hard to interpret that single decision accurately,” said AP United States History teacher and Young Democrats faculty leader John Monahan. 

Raffensperger has been serving as the secretary of state of Georgia since 2019; he was responsible for managing the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. 

“And it’s not at all predictive of how they might vote in 2024 when their choice might very well be Biden versus Trump,” said Monahan. “So Georgia is going to be hard to interpret, especially given who’s on the ballot.”

It is very difficult to tell who will win this gubernatorial election. Four years ago the race between these two candidates was extremely close. 50.2 percent of Georgians voted for Brian Kemp and 48.8 percent voted for Stacy Abrams. This close election makes it even more difficult to predict the outcome of this election. The circumstances a few months ago indicated that Kemp would have had the upper hand in this election. At the time, many people were frustrated with the Biden administration. Polls indicated Americans felt as if they were failing to implement changes voters were promised. Inflation was a relevant issue, Biden was having trouble passing his climate bill, and there was general frustration with the administration. 

However, in the past few weeks that has quickly turned around. Biden was able to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, a bill that targeted climate action and helped to boost the economy. The controversy over classified documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate has brought negative attention to the Republican Party. Additionally, the overturn of Roe v. Wade, which protected abortion rights, is bringing many voters something new to think about when they cast their ballots this fall. 

“That is something that a woman – no matter what income or race she is – can be hit hard by wondering. ‘What would I do if I was in that situation.’ And so to me, I’ve listened to several podcasts of voters in swing states, who have basically said, ‘I’m going to split my vote,’ because they’re uncomfortable voting for Republicans all the time,” said Monahan

To get a definite answer, the only thing we can do is wait until November when the people of Georgia cast their votes and elect a new governor.

Edited by Sophia Cunningham