A Georgia Republican who pointed his gun at a teenager in a campaign ad and joked about personally rounding up undocumented immigrants will advance to the runoff in the state’s gubernatorial primary.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp earned 25.6 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election, placing second behind Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who earned 39 percent.
Left behind are even more extreme candidates like State Sen. Michael Williams, who received plenty of earned media in the final weeks of the race by touring the state in a “deportation bus” but scored only 4.9 percent of the vote.
Kemp, who is vying for the Trump base of rural, deeply conservative voters, will continue to paint Cagle as a moderate. The GOP official honed this message in recent controversial ads, including one where he pointed a gun at a teenager who was asking permission to date his daughter and another in which he pledged to hunt down “criminal illegals” in his “big truck” and personally remove them from the country.
“Yep, I just said that,” seems to be Kemp’s new self-consciously anti-politically correct tagline.
“He’s not a leader. He’s a puppet,” Kemp said of Cagle. “Yeah, I just said that. He’s not fighting for us. He’s fighting for those with deep pockets whose interests are not ours.”
As Georgia’s top elections officials, Kemp has supported a restrictive approach to voting and registration, drawing the ire of voting rights advocates.
Whoever wins the July 24 runoff will face off against Democrat Stacey Abrams, who won her own primary in a landslide. If Abrams wins, she will become the country’s first black female governor.