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July 26 – PHELPS ON POLITICS: With Abrams' Pro-Business Record, Strange Bedfellows Are Ahead

By Lou Phelps, Publisher, Coastal Empire News

July 26, 2018 – What a week in Georgia politics.  Beyond the shock of the margin of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s loss to Brian Kemp in the GOP Gubernatorial Runoff; beyond the fact that State Sen. David Shafer lost his bid to be Lt. Governor to Geoff Duncan on the GOP ticket in November – and will not wield power as President of the Senate ...beyond all that … many in the business community now have to re-think their candidate for Governor in November.

For eight years Gov. Nathan Deal, formerly a Democrat, has fought to modernize Georgia’s reputation, working hard to block ultra-Conservative members of the Georgia House and Senate in various attempts to push ‘Bathroom Bills’ and other legislation that would be opposed by most national companies located in the state, or taking a hard look at locating and investing here. 

Deal fought hard, working with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and other leading business organizations and top employers in Georgia, which have many minority and LGBTQ workers, and had no interest in being branded with such bills.

Cagle's loss means that the Kemp campaign is faced with a 10-week campaign until Early Voting opens on Oct. 9 to convince the business community to not be afraid of Kemp as Georgia’s next Governor.  And, the Georgia GOP has been left fractured, with the "anyone but Cagle" faction triumphant over the more moderate members of the state's Republican Party.  And, many business leaders. 

For the Abrams campaign, destined to pull at least 45% of the vote based on current Democratic registered voters, voting patterns, and black and women's turnout rates, it isn’t a high bar for Abrams to pull an additional 5% from the Republican 30% that stayed firmly behind Cagle in the runoff.  At 6 p.m. on Tuesday night, even before the polls closed, the Kemp campaign and/or supportive PACS hit Abrams with two attack ads.  Both used the cliche'd faces of Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton.  They're going to have to do better than that.  

It’s well known that many of those with Cagle were business leaders. And, I hear that internal Kemp polling shows they know Abrams has a strong chance of winning. 

The Stacey Abrams for Governor campaign is already reminding voters of her pro-business track record, stating that she is “the only candidate who can build a thriving economy” for Georgia.  Last week they released the recent CNBC’s yearly report on the “Top States for Business” list, where Georgia has now slipped from second to seventh.  The full report can be found at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/10/americas-top-states-for-business-2018.html.

Certainly, Lt. Gov. Cagle’s perceived attack on Delta airlines hurt Georgia's national reputation. 

The Abrams pitch is that she is “the only candidate with a a proven track record of and commitment to making Georgia a good place to live, work, and do business. As Democratic Leader, Abrams supported smart business tax incentives, blocked tax increases on middle income families, supported health care affordability and quality public education, and rejected discriminatory legislation opposed by bipartisan leaders and the business community. In the same year, she earned an "A" rating from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the "Friend of Labor" award,” according to a recent release from the Abrams camp.

“As out of touch candidates threaten Georgia's economic security with their rhetoric and actions, Leader Abrams released the following statement:  “I know with the right investments, Georgia families and businesses across the state can thrive. As governor, I will ensure we create more economic opportunity -- not less -- by building a robust infrastructure, expanding access to health care and public education, and giving Georgians a chance to learn new skills so they can earn more to support themselves and their families."

Yes, a lot of GOP moderates, and business leaders statewide now find themselves in a quandary, and we may see a strange mashup of bedfellows coming into November. 

© Copyright 2018  Coastal Empire News, publisher of SavannahBusinessJournal.com, DublinBusinessJournal.com and BrunswickBusinessJournal.net. All Rights Reserved. www.CoastalEmpireNews.com.

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