ATLANTA — The two remaining Republicans in the race for Georgia governor took part in a heated live debate on Channel 2 Action News.
Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp traded barbs in the runoff debate on Channel 2 Action News.
Five republicans were on the ballot for the May 22 primary.
No candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, so the top two candidates, Cagle and Kemp, made the runoff.
MINUTE-BY-MINUTE UPDATES REPUBLICAN DEBATE:
1:30 p.m. The debate has ended.
1:26 p.m.: Brian Kemp says he will put people first ahead of the special interest groups in his closing remarks.
1:25 p.m.: Casey Cagle says he is committed to building Georgia's economy in his closing remarks.
1:21 p.m.: When asked why voters should trust the candidates, Brian Kemp responded says his record in the private sector and in the legislature shows that people should trust him. Casey Cagle says his record of being lieutenant governor speaks the most.
1:17 p.m.: On the subject of medical marijuana cultivation, Casey Cagle says he was once resistant, but after meeting with parents, he has become more sympathetic and he notes that he helped to expand the current medical marijuana bill. Brian Kemp says he supports the current measures and that he support research-based expansion.
1:13 p.m.: Channel 2's Dave Huddleston asks Casey Cagle about a report that he racked up $260,000+ in flights for meetings in the state during his tenure. Cagle said that the economic development impact from those meetings "far paid for any air travel that is out there." Brian Kemp responds saying he would not use the state aircraft to commute from Atlanta to Athens as governor.
1:04 p.m.: Brian Kemp asks Casey Cagle about allegations that state Sen. Lindsey Tippins told the media that Cagle forced a piece of legislation through so he could receive $2 million for his campaign account. Cagle denied the allegations.
1:01 p.m.: Casey Cagle asks Brian Kemp about how he views himself as an "outsider." Kemp says he was working for a decade in the private sector before becoming involved in local government.
12:55 p.m.: The two candidates spar over allegations of illegal contributions.
12:45 p.m.: Casey Cagle responded to a question about a secretly-recorded tape of him speaking about controversial bills; he accused Brian Kemp and Clay Tippens of conspiring against him. Cagle said he does "not hide" from being a conservative. Kemp responded that he was not a part of the conspiracy. He said it is "absolutely false."
12:40 p.m.: Brian Kemp says he's ready to be governor; he lists his accomplishments, including meeting with John Kelly, when he was Homeland Security secretary. Casey Cagle rebutted, referring to the wiping of a computer server critical to the past election.
12:35 p.m.: On the subject of traffic, Brian Kemp said the state needs innovation, think about autonomous vehicles. Casey Cagle said we have to utilize our assets, increase bus rapid transit and build an underground tunnel.
12:33 p.m.: Casey Cagle said his campaign is "about the next eight years," he said he plans to bring 500,000 jobs to Georgia.
12:31 p.m.: Brian Kemp is the first to begin his opening statement. He said Casey Cagle puts politics ahead of policies.
12:29 p.m.: Every one is in place for the debate just 1 minute before air time.
12:02 p.m.: The final touches are being done in the studio ahead of the debate.
12:01 p.m.: Channel 2's Justin Farmer is getting situated in the studio ahead of the debate.
11:15 a.m.: Both Casey Cagle and Brian Kemp have arrived at the WSB-TV studios in preparation for the debate.
Cagle earned 39.01 percent of the vote while Sec. Kemp received 25.55 percent, according to the official report from the Secretary of State’s office.
WSB-TV Political Analyst Bill Crane told Channel 2 Action News the runoff race has tightened considerably.
“Though there is not a great deal ideologically which separates these two men, their respective approaches to problem solving do differ. Secretary Kemp has been making his appeal to supporters of the 2nd Amendment, and more recently to raising questions about alleged ethical issue with the Lt. Governor's leadership of the state senate. No longer comfortably ahead by double-digits, Cagle has returned fire,” said Crane.
WSB-TV Anchor Justin Farmer will moderate Sunday's debate.
The runoff election is Tuesday, July 24.
The winner will face democrat Stacey Abrams in the general election in November.
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