Republican candidate for governor Brian Kemp answers press questions during a campaign stop in Jasper on Monday. ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM
Photo: Alyssa Pointer
Photo: Alyssa Pointer

The Jolt: The woman who calls him ‘Uncle Brian’ is a Stacey Abrams fan

Apparently, Brian Kemp’s Thanksgiving Day dinner was rather interesting last year, and could become more so should the Republican become governor.

Vice.com reports that the Republican nominee’s niece is a 25-year-old art school graduate and professional tattoo artist, the daughter of state Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert, R-Athens. Caty Cowsert is also gay and a fan of Stacey Abrams, Kemp’s Democratic rival – whom she met once at a book-signing. From the piece by Sean Keenan:

“There’s family behind politics, but politics is not always about supporting your family,” Cowsert said. “And sometimes, your family doesn’t support you, but you know they love you. You just have to find the politician that supports you.”

Cowsert thinks the world of her majority-leader dad, but is bothered by that endorsement of her uncle by President Donald Trump, as well as Kemp’s history on LGBT matters. Another taste:

“[Kemp] has never voted for LGBT rights or any sort of equality matters that would make me want to vote for him, whereas Stacey has voted for those policies for more than a decade, and she knows minorities, and she knows equality and has a different standpoint that I can back,” Cowsert [said].

But don’t expect Caty Cowsert to actively latch onto the Abrams campaign. And we’re pretty sure she won’t do anything like this.

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A reader checked in with us this morning, to report that her college-matriculating son had requested that an absentee ballot be sent to his parent’s home. This voice mail message very quickly appeared on the family answering machine:

“Hello. Thank you for requesting an absentee ballot. Your vote is critical. So, please cast your ballot for Brian Kemp and returned by mail at your earliest convenience. With your vote, we can put hard-working Georgians first and ensure a bright and promising future for our state. Thank you. This call was paid for by Brian Kemp for Governor, Inc. 470-396-0790.”

Call it an example of how closely candidates are tracking early ballots.

The mom who contacted us wondered if this crossed an ethical line, given that Kemp is secretary of state. But absentee ballot requests are handled by counties, not the state. And we’d be surprised if Democrat Stacey Abrams weren’t doing much the same.

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Earlier today, we told you that the gubernatorial campaign of Brian Kemp had begun to take a harder line against Democratic trackers stalking the Republican in hopes of getting a gaffe on video.

The Newnan Time-Herald reports today that Greg Palast, a journalist working with BET, was escorted away from a Kemp rally by local law enforcement after peppering the candidate with questions about the purging of voter rolls.

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Georgia stands alone in a new survey of Southerners. 

A NBC News/ SurveyMonkey online survey found that Georgians polled slightly favor Democrats over Republicans on the generic congressional ballot, 47 to 44 percent, unlike their counterparts in Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi, who prefer the GOP. That might not be welcome news for GOP incumbents such as Rob Woodall and Karen Handel, who are facing spirited Democratic challenges.

But the poll also exhibits some weaknesses. It was conducted between Sept. 9 and Sept. 24, a far larger window than most surveys, which are intended as crisp snapshots of voter sentiments. Additionally, note that the poll was completed three days before the volatile U.S. Senate hearing that matched Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with the university professor accusing him of sexual assault when they were teenagers.

One more point: Respondents are a mixture of “adults aged 18 and over” and registered voters -- not likely voters. View the crosstabs here. 

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A few other tidbits from the NBC/SurveyMonkey poll:

-54 percent Georgia respondents “strongly” or “somewhat” disapproved of President Donald Trump, compared with the majority of Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee residents who approved of his work.

-Gubernatorial hopefuls Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams once again polled evenly, with each candidate receiving 43 percent support among the survey’s 1,955 Georgia respondents. A Landmark Communications poll we cited on Monday also showed the race to be a margin-of-error affair, but with the Kemp-Abrams standing at 48-46 percent. The Landmark poll relied on likely voters.

- As in an AJC/WSB-TV poll conducted last month, about two-thirds of Georgians approved of Gov. Nathan Deal’s work. 

-Forty-three percent of respondents said they were more likely to vote for a candidate because they wanted to expand Medicaid. That’s a key plank of Abrams’ platform. One-quarter of those polled said they’d be less likely to vote for such a candidate, while 31 percent said it wouldn’t make much of a difference. 

-Forty percent think race relations in Georgia are getting worse, while only 18 percent thought they were improving. A slight plurality, 41 percent, thought they’ve stayed about the same. 

-There’s deep support for keeping Confederate statues in public spaces. Sixty-one percent of likely voters said they strongly or somewhat opposed removing such monuments.

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Stacey Abrams has picked up another endorsement from a potential 2020 candidate for president. On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted a video saying the Democrat will “fight alongside working people” to improve the economy. 

That led to a rejoinder from Kemp spokesman Cody Hall, who mocked the endorsement from a “far-left junior senator from … Massachusetts.” 

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