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DGA Statement on the Republican Primary in Georgia

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Today, Democratic Governors Association Executive Director Elisabeth Pearson released the following statement on the Republican primary results in Georgia:
“This primary has revealed the Republican candidates as the extreme far-right ideologues they really are,” said Pearson. “Now that we’re down to two candidates, Casey Cagle and Brian Kemp are about to put on a two-month long exhibition of extremism. Despite Governor Deal’s pleas to tone down their campaigns, Cagle and Kemp are pushing an anti-business social agenda that is already scaring off companies looking to invest in Georgia. Cagle and Kemp have made it clear that if they become governor, Georgia is officially closed for business.” 


Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Deal’s Top Aide Worries GOP ‘Rhetoric’ Could Hamper Georgi­­­a’s Amazon Bid.” [Atlanta Journal Constitution, 10/24/17]­­­
Gov. Nathan Deal’s Top Aide was “Concerned the ‘Rhetoric’ in Gubernatorial Campaign Could Undercut the State’s Business-Friendly Image.” According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “The governor’s office is warning that efforts to pass ‘religious liberty’ legislation during the General Assembly’s upcoming session, even if they fail, could harm Georgia’s attempts to land economic development prizes such as Amazon’s second headquarters. Gov. Nathan Deal’s top aide, Chris Riley, said he’s concerned the “rhetoric” in the gubernatorial campaign could undercut the state’s business-friendly image. All four leading Republican candidates in the race have pledged to sign religious liberty legislation should it come to their desk. Each says socially conservative legislation and ambitious bids for new jobs are not mutually exclusive notions, and they maintain it would help protect people of faith from government intrusion.” [Atlanta Journal Constitution, 10/24/17]­­­
GOP Candidates for Governor “Increasingly Pivoted Toward Social Issues, Some More Divisive Than Others, to Contrast Themselves in the Crowded Field.” According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “he Republican candidates for governor gunning for a spot in a likely runoff have increasingly pivoted toward social issues, some more divisive than others, to contrast themselves in the crowded field.” [Atlanta Journal Constitution, 3/22/18]
Gov. Nathan Deal Worried Primary Had Gone Too Far: “I Would Hope We Do Not Find Ourselves in a Posture of Taking Actions That We Cannot Sustain.” According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “‘That’s politics and I understand politics. But I would hope we do not find ourselves in a posture of taking actions that we cannot sustain,’ said Gov. Nathan Deal, who has sounded a note of regret about his own GOP “heat of the moment’ duels. ‘If I’ve learned anything in the many races I’ve run,” Deal told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, ‘it’s be careful what you promise because somebody is going to ask you if you’ve fulfilled your promises.’” [Atlanta Journal Constitution, 3/22/18] 
In August 2017, Lt. Gov. Cagle Signed a Pledge That He Would Enact Discriminatory RFRA Bill If Elected Governor. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and his three Republican rivals signed a pledge that they would enact a ‘religious liberty’ measure if they’re elected governor, taking a united stance on one of the most contentious debates in Georgia. Secretary of State Brian Kemp and state Sens. Hunter Hill and Michael Williams had already signaled their support for the pledge. But Cagle’s decision to sign it was a surprise given his changing stances on the measure.” [Atlanta Journal Constitution, 8/11/17]
In February 2018, Cagle Supported a Bill Allowing Adoption Agencies to Reject LGBT Couples from Adopting Children. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “A bill that would allow religious adoption agencies to reject gay couples easily cleared the Georgia Senate on Friday. The Senate voted 35-19 to approve the “religious liberty” legislation, which ensures that taxpayer-funded adoption agencies can turn away married gay couples seeking to adopt children from foster care… The Senate’s passage of the bill, along with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s support, requires the House to give it “due consideration,” said Kaleb McMichen, a spokesman for House Speaker David Ralston.” [Atlanta Journal Constitution, 2/23/18]
In March 2018, Cagle Vowed to Kill Any Tax Benefits for Delta After Airline Ended Discount for NRA Members. According to the Atlantic, “Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle explicitly announced his motives earlier in the week: “I will kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with @NRA,” he tweeted. “Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back.” (Notice how he defines an attack: no longer offering a special discount.)” [Atlantic, 3/2/18]

  • Cagle “Abused His Power” When He “Sought to Punish a Business for Declining to Associate With a Political Organization.” According to the Atlantic, “Cagle is guilty of equivalent transgressions. By his own admission, he sought to punish a business for declining to associate with a political organization, and he did so by changing his position on a tax bill. He abused his power and decided policy based on factors other than the public interest, in order to help the NRA. It’s a disturbing precedent—and if he’s rewarded for it politically, others may follow his lead.” [Atlantic, 3/2/18]

North Fulton Herald Headline: “Kemp Says He Would Sign Anti-Gay Legislation – Candidate Supports ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill Gov. Deal Has Vetoed Twice.” [North Fulton Herald, 12/5/17]
In December 2017, Kemp Said He Would Have Signed RFRA Bill That was Called “Discriminatory to Gay and Transgender Citizens.” According to the North Fulton Herald, “Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp told the Roswell Rotary Club Nov. 30 that if he is elected governor, he would sign a “religious freedom and restoration bill” similar to the ones Gov. Nathan Deal has twice vetoed if came before him. Proponents of the bill say it grants people of conscience who disapprove of gay marriage, contraception and other issues they believe violate their religious beliefs the right to tailor their business practices accordingly. … But the devil of such a bill is in the details and could have far-reaching economic consequences. Opponents of the bill say it is discriminatory to gay and transgender citizens. Certainly that is the way corporate America has interpreted such legislation. Corporations and organizations have expressed their opposition to such controversial legislation, and in states where it has passed, many have withdrawn from participatory agreements or withdrawn interest in economic development. That is likely a major factor in Deal’s two vetoes of what was nominally the same bill.” [North Fulton Herald, 12/5/17]