(The Center Square) — Republican Gov. Brian Kemp defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams in Georgia’s closely watched gubernatorial race.
With more than 88% of precincts reporting, Kemp had roughly 54% of the vote, while Abrams had about 45%. Libertarian Shane Hazel picked up less than 1% of the vote.
Kemp defeated Abrams four years ago, picking up 50.2% of the vote to Abrams’ 48.8%. Political pundits touted this year’s race as a much-anticipated rematch of 2018, but in the end, the race was overhyped.
Throughout the campaign, Kemp criticized Democrat President Joe Biden and his policies, blaming them for causing inflation and hurting Georgians. As governor, Kemp was able to use the power of the incumbency, whether it was allocating federal COVID-19 relief money or suspending the state’s motor fuel tax, to garner positive headlines.
Leading up to election day, Democrats accused Kemp of using federal money to try and buy votes and criticized his stance on abortion and guns. Republicans countered that Abrams, a favorite of Democrats nationwide, is weak on crime and argued that her economic policies would hurt the state, saying her policies would be little more than an extension of Biden’s.
While Kemp appeared to cruise to victory, another Republican in a closely watched race appeared to fall short of victory. U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Georgia, and Republican challenger Herschel Walker appear to be headed to a Dec. 6 runoff in a race that could determine the balance of the U.S. Senate.
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor