Political Insider

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Facing criticism, Kemp removes links from official app

Republican Brian Kemp plans to remove links to his campaign’s social media account from his office’s official app, amid criticism from Democrats and others who said he was improperly promoting his bid for governor.

Kemp spokesman Ryan Mahoney said Tuesday that links to the campaign’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts would be removed from an app released by the secretary of state’s office. 

Kemp’s campaign had previously refused to remove the links, but Mahoney said Tuesday that the Republican didn’t want them to be a distraction ahead of the November election. 

“This practice is legal and common for elected officials who value accessibility and citizen engagement,” said Mahoney. “However, the links will be removed so we can focus on important issues like Stacey Abrams failing to pay her taxes.” 

He was referring to the $54,000 debt owed by Abrams, the Democratic nominee, to the federal government. She has said she’s on a payment plan to settle the debt, and has refrained from directly targeting Kemp since he won the nomination last week. 

Kemp’s critics have quickly seized on the links, sharing video of them in social media posts. 

State Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, said he’s exploring legislation that would restrict politicians from linking to their campaign social media accounts from their official websites. He cites Georgia code that bars campaigns from receiving campaign contributions from public agencies. 

“My position on this isn’t partisan,” said Holcomb. “No one should use state resources that are taxpayer-funded for their campaign. It’s very simple. And contrary to what is being shared, it’s neither legal nor ethical.” 

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.