Governor Brian Kemp and former Vice President Mike Pence stopped in downtown Gainesville Tuesday afternoon for a rally ahead of the midterm election on November 8.
Kemp stepped off his tour bus to thunderous applause as a crowd of prospective voters and supporters cheered him onto the stage. Kemp was accompanied by Pence, who praised the Governor’s actions and legislation. The rally took place in the parking lot of the Carroll Daniel Construction building on Jesse Jewell Parkway.
Kemp is currently running against Democrat Stacey Abrams, which was a topic of keen interest at the rally.
“You know who was criticizing us—the same people,” Kemp said. “It was Stacey Abrams. She was listening to the national teachers union, which is why she got a million-dollar campaign contribution from them. That’s why 90% of her money came from outside of our state. She's beholden to them, not you.”
Crowds were heard booing mentions of Abrams and went on to cheer, “Four more years!” in honor of the sitting Governor. Pence also had Abrams and President Joe Biden in his sights during his remarks.
“Stacey Abrams was accusing the people of Georgia of rank racism in our elections, of voter suppression—while the state of Georgia adopted the strongest election integrity bill in the country, and President Joe Biden called it New Jim Crow,” Pence said. “Governor Brian Kemp stood strong, and I'm told when I got off the plane from Indiana today, early voting turnout is higher today than four years ago, and setting a record pace in Georgia.”
Pence concluded his speech by encouraging citizens to bring a friend with them when they head to the polls. Many in attendance had already cast their ballots and were there to support Kemp. Carl, a Gainesville local, said he was proud of how Kemp handled the pandemic.
“I like the fact that he tried to keep the state open,” Carl said. “I like the fact that he is, I think, for less government spending. I like the fact that he canceled the gas tax to help us through this. And I just think he's been a good governor and will bring more jobs to the state.”
Jobs, education and economic recovery were all key issues for those at the rally. Kim, a Flowery Branch native, said getting kids’ schooling back on track is one reason Kemp has her vote.
“Studies about the kids being out of school have shown that they're extremely far behind now,” Kim said. “And that's, you know, that's a detriment—these kids, it can take them several years to catch up, just from losing a year and our state was mostly back in place with our kids in school face-to-face long before other schools were, and that's a big deal.”
A common sentiment expressed by members of the crowd was a distaste for pandemic lockdowns and an appreciation for First and Second Amendment rights. Hall County local Richard said that Kemp has made him proud to call Georgia home.
“He’s done a great job as governor and I want to see him continue to do that,” Richard said. “He supports the Second Amendment, First Amendment. He’s just making Georgia a better place to live. I think he did a great job. I don't like the lockdown. I think it was useless. And he kept us open and kept us in business. I just want to be here to let him see my support.”
The take-home message from rally members was an appreciation of afforded liberties. They advocated for less government interference, strong economic recovery and support for law enforcement and education.
Governor Kemp’s bus tour will visit several more locations around Georgia as election day approaches. On Thursday, November 3, Kemp will be in Canton, Acworth, Marietta and Buckhead. On Friday, November 4, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will join Kemp in Jefferson, Winder, Watkinsville, Madison and Monroe. On Saturday he’ll make a stop in Evans and Sunday he will wrap up in Ringold.
The 2022 midterm elections will take place on Tuesday, November 8.