Secretary of State Brian Kemp launched his TV debut in the GOP race for governor Monday with a pledge to “track and immediately deport all criminal aliens so our kids don’t become the next victims.”
The 30-second ad started with Kemp invoking the names of Kate Steinle, Edwin Jackson and the Cannon family, who were each killed by people who were in the country illegally. Steinle was shot to death, while Jackson and three members of the Cannon family were killed in suspected drunken driving crashes.
“Donald Trump is right – we must secure the border and end sanctuary cities,” Kemp said.
Kemp and three other leading GOP candidates are gunning for the No. 2 spot in a possible Republican runoff against Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, the front-runner in the race.
Two other GOP contenders – executive Clay Tippins and former state Sen. Hunter Hill – have already gone on air with introductory TV ads that took shots at Cagle. Kemp, elected twice to statewide office, used his opening volley to focus on immigration.
In the ad, Kemp also said he would enforce a state law that bans sanctuary cities. Though the meaning varies widely, it typically signals that the city won’t work with federal immigration authorities to hand over people in the country illegally.
With a “putting Georgians first” platform that echoes Trump’s America First motto, Kemp aims to rev up conservative voters in rural Georgia and last week ended a 50-stop bus tour that crisscrossed the state.
The GOP field is still unsettled. A Mason-Dixon poll released last week shows Cagle with a sizable advantage and a muddled race for the second spot between Kemp, Tippins and Hill. State Sen. Michael Williams is also running on a pro-Trump platform.
Neither of the two Democrats – former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams and ex-state Rep. Stacey Evans – have launched TV ads yet. But a third-party group, PowerPAC Georgia, said last week it will spend $2.5 million to boost Abrams’ campaign.
Watch the ad here: