Hey Brian Kemp — you should’ve just stepped down during the election…
First thing’s first: This post does not include anything about who I supported for this position. It is simply my take on a misstep by Georgia Governor candidate, Brian Kemp.
The race for Georgia Governor was one of the most interesting and talked about of this midterm season (arguably the second most popular behind the Ted Cruz vs. Beto O’Rourke match up). Stacey Abrams was a surprisingly viable, democratic challenger poised to accomplish several “firsts” as a female, African-American candidate. However, Georgia is still Georgia, and Brian Kemp is a white, Republican currently holding statewide office. That office just happens to be Secretary of State, meaning he was presiding over his own election.
This race would have absolutely still received a decent amount of news coverage if Kemp was not in this position, but it would not have been nearly as prominent if he had just stepped down. And honestly, I cannot seem to wrap my head around the decision to continue acting as Secretary of State.
Let’s imagine a world in which Kemp relinquished his responsibilities during the campaign, or even just in the past 4–6 weeks. The most common talking point surrounding the race would have disappeared. The amount of podcasts, newspapers, and television correspondents that heavily reported on the story would have decreased dramatically. It would have become just a standard, southern governor race. Who knows, if Kemp had just let someone else take over the job (and that person would very likely also have been a republican), then Oprah and Will Ferrell may have never made their trips down there and the interest of many would have faded.
At 11 A.M PST, on November 7th, Brian Kemp is currently holding a slight lead, but Stacey Abrams has not conceded. And so begins days, weeks, months and years of controversy, skepticism and half a constituency who will constantly feel like they were cheated out of their deserved representation. That could have all been avoided if Kemp focused on his campaign, and let someone else oversee the elections. Sure voters in Atlanta, Savannah and the other cities would have still been bummed that Abrams couldn’t clinch the win and become the first female, African-American governor, but at least they would feel the election was fair.
If only Kemp could have pushed his pride aside, he would currently be the governor elect without a cloud of distrust surrounding him. He would not have to deal with lawsuits, a possible run-off, and impending frustration on both sides of the aisle. But hey, this is American politics after all.
UPDATE: Brian Kemp must have read this, because this morning (November 8th) he decided to step down as Secretary of State during the possible recount. Unfortunately for Kemp, it’s just a little too late. The votes have been cast (or not successfully cast), and the lines of hopeful voters have dispersed. I’m pretty confident it will still end well for Kemp, but he will never be able to shed the controversy and extreme disdain from the left half of his future constituency.