brian kemp
Georgia gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp. Credit: Kemp for Governor/YouTube

I’ve been saying for a while now that one of the races I’ll be watching the closest heading into November is the Georgia governor’s race. Previously that has been because of Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams, who would be the country’s first black female governor. She’s been labeled a rising star in the party.

But before we get to the general election, there is a runoff between two Republican candidates that emerged out of the primaries. It pits Secretary of State Brian Kemp against Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle. Kemp made a name for himself nationally in an ad where he pointed a shotgun at the young man who wants to date his daughter. Better yet, you’ll get a feel for what kind of campaign he’s running from this ad:

In the end, the primary vote was Cagle 39 percent to Kemp’s 26 percent. Now they’re facing each other in a run off.

That race is getting interesting because someone surreptitiously tapped a conversation Cagle had with another candidate that didn’t make it through the Republican primary. The Kemp campaign just released an excerpt.

The issues you talk about [presumably educational policy] are the issues I care about as well. The problem is in a primary — and you and I are just talking off the record, Frank — they don’t give a (expletive) about those things. Okay. In the general election, they care about it. Okay. But they don’t care about it in a primary. This primary felt like it was who had the biggest gun, who had the biggest truck, and who could be the craziest.

There are three things that strike me about this. First of all, it is obvious that Cagle is talking about Kemp when he refers to the biggest gun, the biggest truck, and the craziest. And yet Kemp thought it would help him to release this snippet. Go figure! You have to wonder what else Kemp’s got on tape that may surface later.

Secondly, we keep hearing bits and pieces about some Republicans talking like this “off the record” and behind closed doors. They know that their party has gone crazy, but aren’t willing to say so publicly. There will be no profile in courage awards for these folks.

Finally, the one person who gains the most from all of this just has to sit back and watch. That would be the Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams. She’ll either be running against crazy or a coward in November.

Nancy LeTourneau

Follow Nancy on Twitter @Smartypants60.