Republican Brian Kemp brought his bus tour to Oconee County today (Monday morning) to raise money for and stir up interest in his campaign.
He made it clear, however, that he also wanted to help Houston Gaines and Marcus Wiedower, who are trying to unseat Democrats Deborah Gonzalez and Jonathan Wallace, holders of the House District 117 and House District 119 seats respectively.
John Watson, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, who headed the program for the brief stop on Kemp’s Republican Road to Victory Tour, also called for taking back what he called “two critical Republican seats.”
Just under 100 attended the event, held at the Pavilion at Oconee Veterans Park on Hog Mountain Road.
Hice Says Election Critical
Watson introduced the slate of candidates traveling on the tour and then turned the microphone over to Jody Hice, who represents Oconee County and the rest of the 10th Georgia District in Congress.
Hice, who is up for re-election, didn’t mention is own campaign directly, but he was clear in his overall perspective about the importance of the Nov. 6 elections.
|Jody Hice, Brian Kemp, Chris Carr, Joan Carr|
“We are in the fight of our life for this country,” Hice said. “We are in the fight of our life for this state.”
“I am deeply honored to be working with the president,” Hice said. “We waited for eight years as the Obama administration gradually dismantled everything that you and I believe in and pushed his own socialist agenda.
“The time has come where the line has been drawn in the sand and that agenda has to stop,” Hice said. “It is time for this so-called Blue Wave to be body slammed.”
Kemp Translates For Hice
Kemp seized on Hice’s “body slam” comment.
“For the politically correct that are out there,” Kemp said. “Let me translate. When Jody Hice says ‘body slam the Blue Wave’ what he means is putting a red wall up around the state of Georgia.”
That produced a good number of laughs.
Kemp then got more serious.
“Elections are about visions,” Kemp said. “About two different visions. Certainly in this race we have two different directions that we could go in this state.”
Much of what followed was familiar material from the campaign trail and the first debate between Kemp, Democrat Stacey Abrams and Libertarian Ted Metz on Oct. 23. The three are scheduled to meet again on Nov. 4.
Kemp Says Battle Is For Soul
Kemp told the crowd that “I don’t know of an election where our Georgia families have more at stake than they have in this race for governor right here and right now.
“We are literally in a battle for the soul of our state and in a fight for our future in our great state. And the contrasts are very clear,” Kemp said.
“My opponent is running the most dishonest campaign that Georgians have ever seen,” Kemp said. “There is a reason for that. She is trying to hide her extreme agenda, because she wants higher taxes, bigger government, and a radical government takeover of healthcare.
“And those are her so called moderate positions,” Kemp said.
Work With Gaines And Wiedower
Kemp said he would work with Wiedower, running in the 119th House District, and with Gaines, running in the 117th House District, in January.
Three of Oconee County’s precincts fall in the 117th–Athens Academy, Malcom Bridge and Bogart. The remaining 10 precincts are in the 119th.
Kemp said he would work with the pair to lower taxes, lower health care premiums, protect the Hope Scholarship, and provide for safe schools.
“There is nothing more important than keeping our kids, our teachers and our administrators safe in their own classrooms,” Kemp said.
“We need your help. We need you to turn out,” Kemp said. “The reason these guys aren’t in the legislature now is because we didn’t turn out right here in Oconee County in the last election. But that is in the past. What we have ahead of us is the future, and it is in your hands.”
Kemp ended the program, which ran only 15 minutes from start to finish, with a light note, no doubt practiced during the campaign.
“Now I have some good news to leave you with,” he said. “We have all the money that we need for the campaign.
“It’s in your pocket.”
Kemp had a diesel fuel can to be passed around for donations.
Estimating a crowd at such an event is difficult. Participants were not tightly clustered, with many standing outside the Pavilion, which was only partially filled. People came and went as the short program progressed.
I counted three times and got estimates of 60, 80 and 100. Sarah Bell counted once and got an estimate of 80
A large number of those present–and part of the estimate of 100 I used above--were in the contingent of candidates and their assistants. State and local media also were in the crowd.
The video below is of the formal part of the full program, which began just after 10 a.m. with the comments of Watson.
Hice spoke next and was followed by Chris Carr, incumbent attorney general who is seeking re-election.
Kemp began speaking at 6:20 in the video.