March 13, 2017

AJC: Athenian Brian Kemp Is Running for Governor

Brian Kemp 1_16.jpg

This may be the worst-kept secret in Georgia politics, but the AJC reported today, citing an anonymous source that Secretary of State Brian Kemp will run for governor in 2018.

Rumors have swirled that Kemp, who also served a term representing Athens in the state Senate, was gearing up for a run for governor almost since he was elected secretary of state back in 2006.

Kemp has had an at times rocky tenure. He's been accused of voter suppression for backing Georgia's controversial voter ID and rejecting thousands of voter-registration applications. His reputation took another hit last year, when his office accidentally sent a CD containing millions of voters' personal information to political parties and media outlets. He's also run afoul of the nurses his office regulates and historians for his decision to close the state archives in 2012.

But he has burnished his conservative bona fides by fighting back against those voter-suppression allegations and accusing the Obama Administration of trying to hack into his office's computer system. The real estate investment and property management company owner has also pledged to cut red tape for businesses.

Kemp raised his profile nationally by organizing an "SEC primary" last year, giving Georgia and other Southern states a greater role in the Republican presidential nomination.

With Gov. Nathan Deal term-limited, the field in the governor's race will be wide open. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is also expected to run, and former congressmen Jack Kingston and Lynn Westmoreland could as well.

On the Democratic side, the party's 2014 nominee, former state Sen. Jason Carter, and House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams are potential contenders. Some are trying to recruit Sally Yates—the former North Georgia federal prosecutor whom President Trump recently fired as acting U.S. attorney general—as well.

State Rep. Buzz Brockway (R-Lawrenceville) has already announced he'll run for secretary of state.