Secretary of State Brian Kemp told supporters in Peachtree Corners that the race for governor is about trust as his campaign for the state’s highest office passed through Gwinnett County Monday morning.
Kemp greeted about two dozen supporters during a breakfast-time visit to Atlanta Bread Company in The Forum. It’s part of his “Putting Georgians First Bus Tour,” which is visiting 50 counties in 10 days. In addition to the stop in Peachtree Corners, the tour also visited Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth and Fulton counties Monday.
But the secretary of state had a recurring theme, tied to the bus tour’s name of course, and that was “Putting Georgians First.”
“This race, to me, is really like ‘Who do you trust?’” Kemp said. “Who do you trust to actually do what they’re saying on the campaign trail? Everybody is going to tell you things that sound great. Some of them sound so great, I doubt they’ll ever happen even though we would want them to and sometimes, when people say things like that, they’re really not being honest.
“But I can tell you I have a record of doing what I say and we have a plan any Georgian can really look at and say that is very reasonable to implement.”
Kemp is one of about a half dozen Republicans running for governor in a field that also includes Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, state Sen. Michael Williams, former state Sen. Hunter Hill, Gwinnett native and businessman Clay Tippins and former Norcross High School teacher Marc Alan Urbach.
Kemp told the Daily Post promises by some of his opponents, including completely eliminating the state income tax, may not be likely to happen.
“It’s like people have been talking about getting rid of the state income tax and everybody that’s talking about doing that, they all served in the legislature and they haven’t gotten it done yet,” he said. “I mean it’ a hard thing to do, taking a $12 billion item and cutting it down to zero.”
Kemp laid out his “four-point plan” for leading the state as he addressed local supporters. One piece of that plan is “Putting Georgians First,” but another part of the plan include putting in place a spending cap that is tied to population and inflation increases instead of eliminating the income tax.
A third part of Kemp’s plan is making sure all parts of Georgia are moving forward by addressing issues such as rural broadband Internet access. The final part is working to make Georgia the “No. 1 state in the country for small business” by cutting regulations and streamlining processes that affect small business owners.
“I’d be a fighter, and that’s really the theme of our campaign, is putting Georgians first ahead of the special interests, the status quo, the politically correct, those that are here illegally,” Kemp said. “That’s why we’re on the bus tour because we’re telling people that is what we’re going to do.”
Johns Creek resident Fang Zhou said he was interested in hearing as much as he could about Kemp’s plan. He said the Asian community is particularly interested in two issues: education and illegal immigration.
“So far, I really like his message because he’s got a clearly laid out four-point plan and he’s against sanctuary cities (and) stopping tax subsidies for illegal immigrants so that’s kind of the big issue,” Zhou said.
With so many candidates in the Republican field, a GOP run-off is expected in the governor’s race. That means candidates are jockeying to at least finish in the top two spots in the May 22 Republican primary if they can’t win it outright with more than 50 percent of the vote.
As a result, Kemp and the other candidates are also trying to increase awareness of their campaigns through campaign stops around the state. They are also encouraging supporters to put out yard signs, or post campaign information or photos from campaign events on social media.
Kemp said the primary is less than 90 days away even though candidate qualifying won’t take place until next week.
“We want to get a spot in that run-off,” he said. “We’re in a great position to do that. We’ve just got to stay there and keep working hard everyday.”
Gwinnett County residents will get a chance soon to hear directly from the Republican candidates for governor. The Gwinnett County Republican Party is planning to hold a GOP gubernatorial debate at 7 p.m. March 10 at Norcross High School.