Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp are in a contentious race to become Georgia’s new governor. Both politicians, along with Libertarian Ted Metz, met each other on stage Tuesday night in an hour-long debate.


Many topics were brought up in the rivals’ first televised debate, with voter suppression being one of the primary talking points. Kemp, Georgia’s incumbent secretary of state, has utilized a verification law to prevent at least 53,000 people from registering to vote, nearly 70 percent of which are minorities. Abrams has previously argued that Kemp should resign from his post following these allegations.


When asked by one of the moderators, Kemp defended himself, claiming he is “absolutely not” blocking minorities to vote, arguing how claims otherwise are a “farce” and a “distraction” from his opponent’s “extreme agenda.” Kemp even added how it has “never been easier to register to vote,” citing how the voter count has increased under his tenure. Abrams countered by saying, “the right to vote is a right,” segwaying into the struggles her family has faced voting. She contests that “more people have lost the right to vote” because of Kemp and his “atmosphere of fear.” Kemp, meanwhile, accused his Democratic foil of wanting undocumented immigrants to vote in the election.

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Another critical issue raised during the debate is Medicaid, something Abrams supports expanding under Obamacare. She positioned it as the state’s only viable healthcare solution and beginning to expand it will be a “day-one priority” for her, though she’s away improving it will require “more than a day.” Abrams also promised her Medicaid program will cover 500,000 Georgians. Abrams and her Republican rival challenged each other’s plan, with Kemp saying hers is “a single-payer radical government takeover of health care.”

Given the neck-and-neck nature of their race, the politicians took shoots at each other. Kemp knocked Abrams’ failure to pay her taxes. “When you put politics over paying the government the taxes you owe, that does make you unfit to be governor,” Kemp said. “My wife and I have always paid our taxes.” Abrams responded by explaining how she was paying for her father’s cancer treatment at the time, which was a higher priority. “You can defer taxes but you can’t defer cancer treatment,” she said. Meanwhile, Abrams explored Kemp’s own relationship with taxes, given how he is an investor in a company that has been unable to pay thousands of its farmers.

Neither politician has a clear lead over the other according to the polls, meaning they both worked hard to sell their visions to their constituents yesterday. President Donald Trump chimed in on Wednesday, still in support of Kemp:

A second debate is currently scheduled for Nov. 4, two days before election day. The entirety of their first debate, however, can be seen below:

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