Sparks fly during WSB-TV Republican gubernatorial debate

ATLANTA — Governor Brian Kemp and former Senator David Perdue took the stage Sunday evening in a debate hosted by WSB-TV.

Almost from the very start of the debate, the men competing to be the Republican nominee in November’s election for governor were going after one another.

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“Weak leaders take credit when things go well...and they blame somebody else when it doesn’t,” Perdue said.

“Weak leaders blame everybody else for their own loss instead of themselves,” Kemp fired back.

Perdue began the debate by repeating his claim of fraud in the 2020 election.

“First off folks, let me be very clear tonight. The election of 2020 was rigged and stolen,” he said.

Those statements kicked off a long back-and-forth between the candidates with Perdue questioning whether Kemp could have called a special session to further investigate the election.

“Well, first of all, the only one lying here is you, and that is a fact,” Kemp said.

“Did you call a special session? Did you stop the consent decree? No, you didn’t. Of course, you didn’t, and that’s why you failed,” Perdue replied.

“You were on the ballot after the consent decree was signed. You never said a word about it until you lost the election,” Kemp retorted.

“Of course I did,” Perdue said.

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Later, the debate turned to other issues.

Channel 2 anchor Justin Farmer moderated the debate and asked the candidates if Buckhead should become its own city.

“I certainly do. 100%,” Perdue responded.

“I think the debate needs to continue,” Kemp said, refusing to answer the question.

[RELATED: PHOTOS: WSB-TV Republican gubernatorial debate]

The part of the debate that most viewers and voters will likely remember most is the portion on 2020.

“I don’t need to be lectured by someone who lost their last election about what our voting laws are,” Kemp said.

“You’re the top cop in this state. It’s your job to make sure that we prosecute voter fraud,” Perdue replied.

In response to Sunday’s debate, the Georgia Democrats sent a statement that reads, in part,

Tonight’s GOP debate confirmed how extreme and harmful Brian Kemp or David Perdue would be as Georgia’s next governor...From their support for the dangerous “criminal carry” law, and their plan to take taxpayer funds away from our schools and prevent students from learning a complete and accurate history of our county, to their refusal to expand Medicaid...If Perdue or Kemp are governor, Georgia will see more people suffering, more guns on our streets and an education system that fails our kids.

Watch the full debate, in two parts, in the videos below.