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Georgia 2018: Where the candidates for governor stand on the issues

Georgia voters are set to elect a new governor in 2018. 

Stacey Abrams --  the former House minority leader -- won the Democratic nomination. Secretary of State Brian Kemp win the Republican nomination. 

Learn about how the candidates plan to take on the major issues facing the state. 

Taxes  |  Medicaid expansion  |  Education/HOPE  |   Gun laws  |   Criminal justice/drug policy  |   Immigration  |  Religious Liberty  |  Abortion  |  Medical Marijuana  |  Transportation  |  Water wars

Taxes

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Republican

Brian Kemp: Plans to put a cap on state spending, adjusted for growth and inflation and eliminate “wasteful” tax incentives. 

 

Democrat

Stacey Abrams: Wants to reverse the state tax rate cut enacted in this year’s legislative session in order to expand Medicaid. Backs tax credit for lower-income families. 

Medicaid

Republican

Kemp: Opposes expanding Medicaid.  

 

Democrat

Abrams: supports expanding Medicaid 

Education/HOPE

Republican 

Kemp: Would support “school choice” effort by doubling the state tax credit for student scholarship organizations and boost funding for charter schools. 

 

Democrat

Abrams: Supports “historic investment” in early childcare and learning and public schools and a needs-based higher education scholarship. Says she staved off deeper cuts to lottery-funded HOPE scholarship by working with Republicans to keep the program solvent. 

Gun laws

Republican

Brian Kemp: Opposes new gun restrictions and backs “constitutional carry.” Ran provocative ad showing him brandishing shotgun next to young man courting his daughter. Won support from GeorgiaCarry.Org, a pro-gun group. 

 

Democrat

Stacey Abrams: Supports stricter gun laws, including universal background checks for private sales of firearms and a repeal of the “campus carry” legislation that allows permitholders to carry weapons on college campuses. 

Criminal Justice/drug policy

Republican

Kemp: Supports bolstering state’s anti-gang initiative, opposes in-state cultivation of medical marijuana 

Democrat

Abrams: Pledges to eliminate the use of cash bail for some poor defendants, backs taking steps to decriminalize marijuana, expanding accountability courts and ending capital punishment. 

Immigration

Republican 

Kemp: Has proposed creating a database for tracking unauthorized immigrants with criminal convictions and for speeding up their deportations. 

 

Democrat

Abrams: Opposed Georgia House Bill 87, a crackdown on illegal immigration that lawmakers approved in 2011, saying it has “harmed our immigrant and refugee communities.” 

Religious Liberty

Republican

Kemp: Pledged to sign “religious liberty” measure 

 

Democrat

Abrams: opposed bills that threatened to legalize discrimination or allow some Georgians to be treated differently under the law. 

Abortion

Republican

Kemp: Has pledged to enact nation’s toughest abortion restrictions. 

Democrat

Abrams: Opposes further abortion restrictions 

Medical Marijuana

Republican

 Brian Kemp: He supports a limited expansion of the medical marijuana program but opposes legislation allowing marijuana to be grown in the state, saying it should be up to Congress to tackle the debate. He also opposes decriminalizing marijuana. 

Democrat 

Stacey Abrams: She supports in-state cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes. She would seek to decriminalize some marijuana offenses, and invoked a new Atlanta policy that calls for a maximum fine of $75 and no mandatory jail time for small amounts. 

Transportation

Republican

Brian Kemp: He’s been skeptical of a state-funded transit expansion, saying he first wants to know “what it’s going to cost and who’s going to pay for it.” As part of his plan to cap state spending, he said he wants to prioritize road projects such as the widening of truck routes to accommodate more freight. 

 

Democrat

Stacey Abrams: She’s supportive of efforts to expand transit and says it should be seen as a regional and economic issue. She’s called for more investments in trucking lanes and increased mobility for residents in rural counties. 

Water wars

Republican

Brian Kemp: Says he won’t strike a compromise for the sake of ending the waters wars that will leave “hardworking Georgians high and dry” and is ready to step up the legal fight. “I won’t back down, blink or sacrifice our state’s future on the altar of expediency.” 

 

Democrat

Stacey Abrams: She’s framed herself as a sharp-edged negotiator who will work to preserve the state’s water interests.

Complete Georgia elections coverage

Read in-depth profiles about the candidates

Voting guide for Georgia primary election

TV tally: Georgia gov candidates spend more than $12M on campaign ads

A week before the vote, the knives sharpen in Georgia gov race

Georgia elections central

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