Kemp buries a ‘horrible’ hatchet with prominent Republican senator

A screenshot from Brian Kemp's campaign of state Sen. Renee Unterman at his headquarters.

A screenshot from Brian Kemp's campaign of state Sen. Renee Unterman at his headquarters.

Brian Kemp recently ended a bitter feud with the most prominent female Republican in the state Senate as he maneuvers his campaign to try to dent a gaping gender gap.

State Sen. Renee Unterman said Wednesday that she and Kemp traded apologies a few weeks ago after a “horrible” back-and-forth during his runoff against Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

She was referring to a July episode when Kemp's campaign called for her to "seek immediate medical attention before she hurts herself or someone else" after Unterman, a Cagle supporter, urged prosecutors to investigate his campaign donations.

Cagle demanded that Kemp apologize for the "sexist attack," which he initially refused to do. Unterman said the two called a truce a few weeks ago, and they sealed their alliance Wednesday at a Women's for Kemp event at his Buckhead headquarters.

“I care more about my agenda than I do about myself. And if I can push my agenda – the social issues and healthcare issues – I don’t care who I work with,” said Unterman, who said it was a sign of the campaign’s “maturity.”

“I apologized and they apologized. I’ve been a Republican all my life, and I want a Republican governor.”

Unterman is one of only two female GOP senators in the state Senate, and she chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

She's long been a proponent of Medicaid expansion, which Kemp has opposed as too costly, and said she lobbied him to support waivers for more federal funding for opioid treatment and mental health services.

“You’ve got to bring a lot of views to the table and his team realizes that. These are huge issues,” she said. “And it takes the executive branch, the General Assembly, the industry – everybody getting together on them.”

Kemp's opponent, Democrat Stacey Abrams, has put Medicaid expansion at the center of her platform.

And her allies with the Democratic Party of Georgia were eager to remind voters of Unterman’s harsh words for the GOP nominee by reupping this July 9 tweet:

More recent AJC stories on the Georgia governor’s race:

Kemp faces pressure to retract 'misguided' support for Kavanaugh 
Biden postpones trip to Georgia to boost Abrams