Kemp fills out his administration with senior hires – and a new post

Gov.-elect Brian Kemp announced a series of new staff hires Monday to fill out his incoming administration, tapping several longtime aides to powerful posts and creating a new position aimed at grassroots outreach.

Many of Kemp’s hires have deep ties to the Republican cultivated during his two terms as Georgia secretary of state or on the campaign trail. Several have elected political experience, and most have no link to outgoing Gov. Nathan Deal.


Kemp appointed David Dove, who was his top aide in the secretary of state’s office, to serve as his executive counsel. And Lorri Smith, a former chief deputy in the office, will become the state’s first female chief operating officer.

Former state Rep. Charles Harper will be Kemp’s deputy chief of staff and Candice Broce, an attorney who is now a spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office, will be Kemp’s communications director and deputy executive counsel. Cody Hall, the main spokesman for Kemp’s campaign, will be his press secretary.

Kemp will split up a position that was combined under Deal. Patrick Farr, another former Kemp aide, will head the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. And Greg Dozier, who now leads the state Department of Corrections, will be his chief financial officer.

Teresa MacCartney, who now has a similar role with the Board of Regents, held both titles in the Deal administration.

Kemp also announced a key position that didn’t previously exist: Martha Zoller will direct Kemp’s state and regional outreach office after filling a similar role with U.S. Sen. David Perdue. Among her deputies is Brad Hughes, a former Georgia GOP executive who will be based in rural Georgia.

They will join a handful of administrative posts that Kemp had already announced, including Tim Fleming, who will serve as Kemp’s chief of staff, and former state Rep. Mark Hamilton, his director of external affairs.

Other top Kemp advisers, including Jeremy Brand, Joel McElhannon and Ryan Mahoney, will not be joining the administration.

In all, a dozen of his senior staff appointees are Georgia natives and 13 of them attended colleges in the state. Kemp said in a statement the hires will help him fulfill his campaign goals and they’ll “work around the clock to put hardworking Georgians first.”