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ALPHARETTA, Georgia – Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has a message for Georgians when it comes to battling crime.
“We’re in the fight and we’re going to stay in the fight,” the governor told a crowd of supporters at a rally at this fast-growing city in the suburbs north of Atlanta.
With just under six weeks to go until Election Day, Republican candidates, committees and allied groups have been increasingly spotlighting crime on the campaign trail as they target Democrats. It’s an issue that national polls indicate voters trust Republicans more than Democrats. According to national ad tracking firm AdImpact, Republican campaigns and allied groups aired 53,000 commercials on crime during the first three weeks of this month.
In Georgia, where polls suggest the conservative governor has a slight edge over Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams in a rematch of their 2018 showdown, Kemp says he’s been emphasizing the issue of crime for years.
“I was talking about that issue four years ago. If you look back, what I ran on – I ran on going after street gangs and drug cartels when I was running for governor in 2018,” he said in an interview with Fox News Digital on Tuesday, just ahead of his rally in Alpharetta.
And the incumbent touted his record on crime in office.
“I fulfilled a lot of promises over the last three and a half years. We created the gang task force at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. We’ve given our attorney general, Chris Carr, more resources to prosecute gangs,” Kemp showcased. “We’ve been making sure our capital city’s safe.”
And pointing to the multi-agency crime suppression unit, Georgia’s governor noted that “we’ve arrested over 600 people that had outstanding warrants – 29 of them for murder – because we were simply doing old-fashioned police work. Mind you, this is not the state’s job to be doing this. But we are in the fight. We are now in the fight with the locals, which I appreciate, and we’re going to stay in the fight as long as we need to. We gotta keep our families safe.”
Abrams, in campaign commercials over the summer, attacked the governor as weak on crime. Pointing to a bill the governor signed into law in April allowing people to carry firearms without a permit, the ad claims, “Brian Kemp may talk tough, but he makes us less safe.”
She charged during a June interview on “Fox News Sunday” that “violent crime went up 55% in 2019 to 2020 under Brian Kemp.”
And Abrams has said that if elected, she’d boost the base salaries of some law enforcement officers and expand training for officers who specialize in mental health and social services.
Kemp, in his ads and on the campaign trail, has repeatedly accused Abrams, a former state Democratic legislative leader, voting rights champion and rising Democratic Party star, of supporting the defund the police movement and has blasted her for her support for cashless bail.