Republican nominee for governor Brian Kemp, speaking to reporters during a press conference at his campaign headquarters in Buckhead on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018, proposed a school counselor in all 343 state public high schools; one-time funding for schools to spend as they see fit; and a school safety division in the Georgia Department of Education. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia 2018: Brian Kemp’s record

Brian Kemp, the Republican nominee for Georgia Governor, has been a big part of state government in recent years. 

The Athens-native was elected to the State Senate in 2002 as part of a GOP wave. He ran unsuccessfully for agriculture secretary in 2006, and then returned to the business world.

In 2009, he announced a run for Secretary State. The position opened up before the election when Karen Handel stepped down to run for Governor. In early 2010, then-Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed Kemp to open seat. Kemp won re-election twice. 

Here is a look at his record and notable coverage of him through the years. 

At company Brian Kemp backed, unpaid debt and possible ‘felony’ - Oct. 3, 2018

The company’s actions “may be a felony under Georgia law,” an attorney for the state Department of Agriculture wrote to AgStrong in April. The letter threatened to revoke AgStrong’s licenses to do business with Georgia farmers, collect a $70,000 fine, and liquidate the company’s assets to compensate farmers.

For Brian Kemp, suit over bad loan reveals political, financial perils - Sept. 21, 2018

At 9 a.m. on July 19, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp sat in his lawyer’s office in Carrollton. In just five days, the state’s Republicans would choose either Kemp or Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle as their candidate for governor. The race was widely viewed as a toss-up. But Kemp would be stuck in Carrollton for the next two hours and 27 minutes, trying to explain, under oath, why he shouldn’t have to repay a $500,000 loan. 

 By the time his deposition concluded, Kemp had answered “I don’t recall,” “I don’t remember,” “I don’t know,” or some variation at least 91 times.

Kemp distances himself from proposed Georgia precinct closures - Aug. 20, 2018

Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp is rejecting allegations that he encouraged a plan to close voting precincts in a majority African-American county in southwest Georgia. 

Kemp’s critics questioned his role Monday because of his ties to a consultant who proposed the precinct closures and donated $250 to his campaign.

Battle over voter registrations set stage for Georgia governor’s race - Aug 17, 2018

As piles of voter registration forms flooded election offices in 2014, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp launched a fraud investigation into Stacey Abrams’ ambitious effort to boost minority voter turnout.

Kemp campaign gets big bucks from the people he regulates - June 26, 2018

In April, a chiropractor who owns two massage clinics that have been the subject of a series of sexual assault complaints got a visit from his industry’s highest-ranking state regulator. 

 Secretary of State Brian Kemp hadn’t come with tough questions, though. He came with an outstretched hand.

Why a Kentucky town is in spotlight of Georgia governor’s race - June 15, 2018

 “It was a big deal in town. It was so promising,” said Donnie Brumfield, who manages a local farmer’s co-op across the dusty railroad track from the plant. “And now people feel betrayed.” 

Kemp’s campaign has portrayed him as a relatively minor player in the company, which was launched in 2006 by a northeast Georgia family. But court records, campaign documents and interviews show he played a significant role in the troubled firm, acquiring a major stake in the business and lining up six-figure loans from financiers.

Brian Kemp: His pitch to conservatives leans hard on law and order - May 9, 2018

Kemp has staked his Republican campaign for governor on law-and-order messages, casting himself as the champion for the “forgotten” man that President Donald Trump highlighted on the campaign trail.

Public review of new Georgia voting system launched - April 13, 2018

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is moving forward with efforts to replace the state’s electronic voting machines after legislation to do so failed. 

Kemp announced Friday he’s forming a bipartisan commission of lawmakers, political party leaders, election officials and voters to recommend a new voting system for the state.

Kemp faces voter security questions  - Feb. 19, 2018

Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican candidate for governor, tells voters the state’s elections system is secure and that he doesn’t need additional help from Washington to defend against hackers. 

But he’s also open to a paper-based voting system, which his critics from both parties say is essential to ensuring the state’s touch-screen voting machines can’t be undermined.

Georgia AG gets 53 forms in probe of voter registration group - Sept. 20, 2017

Fifty-three allegedly forged voter applications are being referred to the state Attorney General’s Office for possible prosecution, a decision by the State Elections Board that effectively closes the Secretary of State Office’s 2014 fraud investigation involving an attention-grabbing registration drive by the New Georgia Project. 

The unanimous vote Wednesday came as the case’s lead investigator said he found no wrongdoing by the group, which was founded by then-state House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams to increase the number of minorities on voting rolls.

Homeland Security requested documents over alleged hack in Georgia - Jan. 24, 2017

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security requested documents from state officials after they alleged that the federal agency tried to hack into the Georgia’s voter registration system. 

The request from the agency’s inspector general is the first after Georgia congressman Jody Hice and Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, requested an independent review. 

Politifact: Kemp off base on voting interference - Oct. 29, 2016

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the state’s election chief, tweeted, "Stand with me in opposition to the left’s blatant attempts to disrupt Georgia’s elections!"But how rampant is election interference in the state? PolitiFact Georgia decided to take a look. 

U.S. congressman seeks Georgia documents about voter citizenship proof - Oct. 5, 2016

A Democratic U.S. congressman has requested Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp provide more information about why the state pursued a proof-of-citizenship requirement for residents registering to vote using federal forms.

Georgia agrees to add thousands to voter rolls ahead of Nov. election - Sept. 26, 2016

Georgia has agreed to temporarily suspend a requirement that has prevented tens of thousands of residents from registering to vote as it works toward a possible settlement in a federal lawsuit that accused Secretary of State Brian Kemp of disenfranchising minorities ahead of the presidential election. 

As a result, thousands of voters whose applications have been rejected since Oct. 1, 2014, may be allowed to cast a ballot on Nov. 8.

Federal election security task force will include Georgia’s Brian KempAug. 31, 2016

Days after criticizing federal officials over their warnings of cyberthreats to states’ election systems, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has agreed to join a federal task force working on the issue. 

Kemp is one of four secretaries of states who accepted an appointment Wednesday to the newly formed Department of Homeland Security’s Election Infrastructure Cyber Security Working Group.

New details on Georgia Secretary of State Office’s massive data breach - Dec. 14, 2015

A long-awaited state report detailing how Georgia gave out more than 6 million voters’ Social Security numbers and other private data put the blame squarely on a employee fired for the breach last month. 

Data breach in Georgia could affect 6 million voters - Nov. 18, 2015

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp acknowledged that his office last month illegally disclosed the Social Security numbers and other private information of more than 6 million registered voters. 

A Georgia-led ‘SEC primary’ is becoming a reality - July 1, 2015

What was once a gleam in the eye of Georgia’s top elections official has become reality in recent months, as most of the South has aligned for a blockbuster March 1, 2016, presidential primary. 

Voters in Georgia, where Secretary of State Brian Kemp has been the loudest cheerleader for the college athletics-themed “SEC primary,” will be joined by those in Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia for the regional vote that could shape what looks to be a drawn-out Republican race.

Online voter registration a success in Georgia - Oct. 1, 2014

Georgia’s new online voter registration system and mobile apps have helped more than 40,700 people become new voters or update their eligibility information — exceeding the project’s initial goal ahead of Monday’s final deadline.

State backs down on scope of voter fraud- Sept. 17, 2014

Investigators backed away from allegations that the New Georgia Project may have organized voter registration fraud, saying they can confirm 25 forged applications of more than 85,000 submitted to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. 

Voter registration fraud alleged at Democratic-backed groupSept. 10, 2014

Accusations of voter registration fraud by the Secretary of State’s Office erupted into a firestorm over Democrats’ efforts to mobilize tens of thousands of new voters in Georgia. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican, announced the investigation after he said he received “numerous complaints” about voter registration applications submitted by the New Georgia Project. State House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, founded the group in November. 

Nursing board takes years to clear cases - July 13, 2013

The complaints lodged with the state nursing board read like horror stories for anyone afraid of needles. Scarier still are the dates stamped on them.A review of more than 100 public orders for 2012 and 2013 found the board takes an average of 15 months to decide a complaint against a nurse. Currently there is a backlog of hundreds, perhaps thousands of complaints against nurses around the state.

Georgia investors more vulnerable - Feb. 3, 2013

Georgia is the home base of a rogues' gallery of fraudsters who have plundered hundreds of millions of dollars from investors in recent years. Some were trusted investment advisers lining their pockets at clients' expense. Others were posers touting unregistered securities. 

They didn't have to worry much about the state poking into their books. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation found that Georgia all but dismantled securities enforcement in 2010.

Lewis-backed bill would automatically register most to vote - Jan. 31, 2013

Democrats who spent the 2012 election cycle on defense against voting restrictions are now urging near-universal voter registration...  The bill faces significant Republican roadblocks to passage, including in Georgia, where Secretary of State Brian Kemp doesn’t like the idea.

State demands Fulton hand over election records - Jan. 15, 2013

Fulton County won’t turn over key documents related to scores of voter complaints about last year’s elections, and Secretary of State Brian Kemp says he’s so frustrated that he’s taken the rare step of subpoenaing documents from the county’s elections office.

Georgia Archives supporters rally against cuts - Oct. 3, 2012

More than 100 Georgia Archives supporters rallied Wednesday at the state Capitol, with efforts under way to see if Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is violating state law by all but closing the archives to the public.

Single licensing board planned - Jan. 24, 2012

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp wants to take licensing and investigative power from Georgia's 43 professional licensing boards to cut wait times for more than 460,000 licensees.

Justice Department approves Georgia voter verification system - Aug. 23, 2010

The Justice Department has ended nearly two years of court battles, giving final approval to Georgia's system of verifying voters' identity and citizenship.

Kemp asks Baker to sue feds over voter citizenship checks - April 8, 2010

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp wants Attorney General Thurbert Baker to appoint a special attorney general to sue the Justice Department over its refusal to sign off on a controversial state program to check the citizenship of people when they register to vote.

Debate turns to illegal immigration - Feb. 21, 2006

Sen. Brian Kemp (R-Athens), who chairs the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee that will hear the bill, called illegal immigration a "burning issue" and predicted a quick path for SB 529 though the Legislature, which is halfway though the session.

Prison time for kids may be cut - Feb. 24, 2005

The bill, a compromise sponsored by Sen. Brian Kemp (R-Athens), also would keep low-level offenders out of youth prisons. It would restrict the program to juveniles who commit a felony or commit a misdemeanor "of a high and aggravated nature" involving bodily harm, and to those who violate probation and don't respond to other sanctions.

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