EXCLUSIVE: Gov. Brian Kemp discusses decision to run for second term in office

ATLANTA — In an exclusive interview with Channel 2 Action News, Gov. Brian Kemp announced he will seek reelection.

During the one-on-one interview with Channel 2′s Richard Elliot, Kemp acknowledged his first term was marked with a lot of tough times -- from the pandemic to the recession to the controversial elections.

But he thinks his administration handled them well. His opponents, not so much.

“Our state’s in a really good place, and it’s going to get better. And I want to keep driving that ship,” Kemp said. “I think if they really look at my record and what I said when I campaigned, when I won the governor’s race, I mean, really and a drive and determination to put hard working Georgians first ahead of the status quo.”

But his 2 1/2 years in office haven’t been easy. There was the pandemic, the recession and two of the toughest and most controversial elections in Georgia -- and maybe U.S. history.

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There’s also his now-soured relationship with former President Donald Trump, though he insists he still supports him.

One of his GOP primary opponents, Vernon Jones, is hoping to get that Trump endorsement.

“We look forward to a robust campaign ahead to defeat Brian Kemp,” Jones said. “The people of Georgia have lost trust and confidence in (him).”

Kemp has come under fire from Georgia Democrats for his handling of the pandemic and for supporting the controversial elections law.

In a statement, Georgia Democratic Party chair and Rep. Nikema Williams said, “With members of his own party rebuking him and his approval rating among voters shaky at best, Brian Kemp is standing on thin ice from left to right.”

Elliot asked Kemp if he expected a rematch with Stacey Abrams.

“Well, that’s something else I can’t control, you know?” Kemp said. “I’m looking forward to running on my record and also our vision. Quite honestly, as the campaign goes further against whoever gets in the race, whoever the Democratic nominee is, or anybody else who gets in the race, I think we’ll do very well.”