A new gun fight erupts in race for GOP race for governor 

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle dug deep into Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s voting record, slamming his rival in the GOP runoff for governor for a vote on gun rights legislation while both were in the state Senate.

The divide involves a failed 2003 measure that would have repealed a law that allowed the governor to suspend the sale of guns to some Georgians during a state of emergency. Kemp was one of six Republicans who voted to table the measure, while Cagle supported it.

It was sponsored by state Sen. Jeff Mullis, a Cagle supporter who called Kemp a “weak-kneed politician who asked for a pass on the vote and eventually caved to liberals at our expense.” Cagle also rolled out an attack ad focused on the vote.

Kemp’s campaign called it a “procedural” vote that was also backed by then-Gov. Sonny Perdue’s floor leader. And his spokesman, Ryan Mahoney, said the attack was a signal that Cagle was desperate to tarnish a “rock-solid” gun rights supporter.

“That's why he's running from his record and spends every waking moment attacking the next governor of Georgia," said Mahoney.

The winner of the July 24 runoff between Cagle and Kemp faces Democrat Stacey Abrams, who has broken from traditional Democratic strategy in Georgia to call for new gun controls. 

The two Republicans, meanwhile, have jockeyed over the depth of their support for the Second Amendment, and each has rolled out eye-catching ads prominently featuring firearms. Cagle earned the endorsement of the NRA, while Kemp has backing from GeorgiaCarry.org. 

Read more recent AJC stories on the Georgia race for governor 

Shotguns galore! Casey Cagle attacks Brian Kemp on an ag deal gone sour  

Abrams’ poll points to sharper November focus on ‘diverse economy’  

Why Georgia’s governor is optimistic about Atlanta’s bid for Amazon  

Cagle, Kemp scrap over blame for nine-week runoff  

Georgia Democrats test a more liberal comeback strategy  

A widening gulf on gun policy shapes Georgia races after primary  

A Democratic love-fest: Georgia partisans unite at fundraiser 

Georgia Republicans face infighting while Democrats work on unity  

A 'deportation bus’ candidate screeches to last-place finish 

About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He joined the newspaper...