Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has won a bruising Republican runoff in the state’s race for governor, leveraging a damning secret audio recording of his opponent and a last-minute Trump-Pence endorsement.
With Tuesday’s win against Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Kemp faces Democrat Stacey Abrams. She could become the country’s first black woman governor.
The race will test Democrats’ assertion that changing demographics have turned the Republican stronghold into a swing state. Cagle’s campaign was rocked by a secret recording in which he says he helped pass a “bad public-policy” bill for political gain.
In another recording, Cagle allegedly offers to help pay off former gubernatorial candidate Clay Tippins’ $300,000 in campaign debt in exchange for an endorsement.
[wps_products_gallery product_id=”4344714494003, 4333909639219, 4333982449715″]
“I’m well aware that we walked away from $300,000,” Tippins said. “It’s the best $300,000 we’ve ever walked away from.”
Cagle denied the allegations, saying he never offered a bribe for any reason and saying he was tiring of “antics” in the race.
After conceding the GOP runoff to Kemp on Tuesday, Cagle told supporters that Kemp was “undeniably ready to lead this state.” The praise was a swift reversal after a nine-week runoff that saw Cagle and Kemp attack each other on multiple fronts.