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. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp will face off in a July runoff for the GOP 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 

Taxes

Republicans 

Cagle: Would cut taxes by $100 million in the first 100 days of his administration and seek further tax cuts. 

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

 

Democrat

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

Republicans 

Cagle: Says he is open to pursuing a waiver from the federal government in order to gain more money for Medicaid, so long as it includes a work requirement. 

Kemp: Opposes expansion 

 

Democrat

Abrams: supports expanding Medicaid 

Education/HOPE

Republicans 

Cagle: Pushed for and continues to promote the College and Career Academy Network, a program of 46 schools that combines college courses with tech school training. 

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

Republicans

Casey Cagle: Opposes new gun restrictions and said he supports “constitutional carry” - the right to legally carry a weapon openly or concealed without a permit - after initially objecting to it. Won NRA’s endorsement after vowing to “kill” a tax break for Delta when it broke ties with pro-gun group. 

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

Republicans 

Cagle: Backed commission to study expanding state’s medical marijuana program, supported Gov. Nathan Deal’s criminal justice overhaul 

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

Republicans 

Cagle: Backed an unsuccessful measure in the state Legislature this year that would have required state judges and local sheriff's deputies to help with federal immigration enforcement. He also filed a complaint against Decatur over the city’s enforcement of immigration law. 

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

Republicans 

Cagle: Pledged to sign “religious liberty” measure 

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

Republicans 

Cagle: Says he will “defend life at all stages,” hasn’t specified new abortion restrictions he would back. 

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

 

Democrat

Abrams: Opposes further abortion restrictions 


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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