Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on Saturday accused Major League Baseball of submitting to “fear and lies” while depriving Georgians of a paycheck after it decided to pull its All-Star Game out of Atlanta over the state’s new voting law.
“Yesterday, Major League Baseball caved to fear and lies from liberal activists,” Kemp said at a news conference on Saturday. “In the middle of a pandemic, Major League Baseball put the wishes of Stacey Abrams and Joe Biden ahead of the economic well-being of hard-working Georgians who were counting on the All-Star Game for a paycheck.”
Kemp’s antagonism of former 2018 gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams comes after the prominent voting rights activist challenged calls for sports leagues and corporations to boycott the state. In a statement on Friday she said that she was “disappointed” that the All-Star game was being moved out of Atlanta but also said that she commended “the players, owners and League commissioner for speaking out.”
In addition to taking aim at Abrams, Kemp also reiterated on Saturday comments he made on Friday blaming “cancel culture,” for MLB’s decision.
Republicans have repeatedly invoked so-called “cancel culture” in an effort to defend the law restricting voting and have painted the controversy as a partisan one that has little to do with access to the ballot box and everything to do with undue alarm drummed up by a woke mob of Democrats.
“I want to be clear: I will not be backing down from this fight. We will not be intimidated, and we will also not be silenced,” Kemp said.
Kemp had signed the new legislation last week in what appears to be (at least in part) an effort at signaling to former President Donald Trump and others who issued false claims about a stolen election in Georgia, that he’s up to the task of restricting voting in his state after President Joe Biden put Georgia in the Democratic column in the 2020 presidential election for the first time since 1992. In the weeks and months following the November presidential election, Kemp had refused to succumb to pressure from Trump to help overturn the state’s elections.
In his Saturday remarks, Kemp also compared voting rules in Delaware and New York with Georgia’s new law, which he has adamantly defended as an expansion on voting access because of an extra required Saturday of early voting.
But that assessment ignores other voting hurdles put in place by the law, including making absentee voting more difficult by cutting time to request an absentee ballot, offering fewer drop boxes, and creating stricter absentee voter ID requirements, among other restrictions.
The decision to move the All-Star game comes after a growing number of Atlanta-based corporations have come out in opposition to the new legislation.
“For anybody that’s out there thinking that any kind of snowball effect is going to have an effect on me, it will not,” Kemp said.