Georgia GOP candidates stay focused on guns, immigration
By BEN NADLER
May. 18, 2018
ATLANTA (AP) — With just five days to go before Georgia's primary, the five Republican candidates for governor hardly mentioned topics like education and job creation during a debate Thursday night. It was all about guns and immigration.
Since they largely agree on those issues from a policy standpoint, each one spent the night selling themselves as tougher than the rest, more likely to crack down on people in the country illegally and prevent any restriction on gun rights.
Presidential politics also featured in the discussion, as each one presented himself as the biggest ally of Donald Trump.
As the front-runner in a race that could likely be decided in a runoff, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle was attacked the most.
Hunter Hill, a former state Senator from the Atlanta area, questioned Cagle's support for a religious liberty bill that floundered in this year's legislature. Secretary of State Brian Kemp of Athens questioned the source of Cagle's personal wealth, without offering any proof of wrongdoing.
Cagle pushed back, expressing full support for religious liberties legislation and saying that no one needed to question where his income came from, because he has filed financial disclosure forms every year.
Clay Tippins of Atlanta earned a scolding by the moderator when he ignored the format for a moment to decry "career politicians," and directly addressed "the people of Georgia," asking "Will you stand with me?"
State Sen. Michael Williams tried to cast doubt on Kemp's support of Trump, while Kemp expressed full support for the president in a rebuttal.
Cagle questioned Hill's record as a candidate for his relatively liberal Atlanta-area senate district, saying he flipped on conservative issues. Hill protested, touting his pro-life and pro-gun stances.