Gov. Nathan Deal is hosting a private fundraiser for Brian Kemp’s campaign in Gainesville on Thursday. The two might want to huddle about a key part of the Republican’s platform beforehand.
Deal told reporters after an Atlanta Press Club event that he’s “hopeful” to hear more about what education plans Kemp and his opponent, Democrat Stacey Abrams, have put forward.
Pressed to elaborate, he said neither candidate has focused enough on the K-12 education, which was the main trope of his 2014 re-election campaign. During that bid, he vowed to overhaul the school funding formula, then later abandoned that plan in favor of a failing schools initiative.
“That is not been a subject they’ve focused on, I don’t think, either one of them at this point in time. But it’s an important one,” said Deal.
“If we’re going to elevate the education level of our state, if we’re going to eliminate gang activity, we need to make sure they stay in school. All of us are concerned about that. But we’ve got to figure out a way – what is the alternative?”
That was a reference to the gang crackdown that Kemp has highlighted most of the last week.
As for their policies, the secretary of state has called for more local control of schools and expanded school choice, while Abrams pushes for more community services and the end of private school tax credits. Both say they would fully fund the K-12 formula.
Talk about good timing: Each contender will have a forum Wednesday to further hone their K-12 education plans.
Abrams plans to accept the endorsement from the Georgia Association of Educators at the Village School of East Atlanta in the morning, while Kemp and Geoff Duncan, the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor, will announce a school safety plan.
On Tuesday, Abrams touted an endorsement from Jimmy Carter that highlighted the changing political winds that have swept up Georgia Democrats. Her rival also tried to tag her with another endorsement she may not have claimed.
In an all-caps press release, Kemp’s campaign claimed the Metro Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America backed her bid for governor. Except the group didn’t exactly endorse Abrams.
Writing in a blog, the group said it would oppose Kemp - before adding:
We stand with all of these working families who want Stacey Abrams to be the next governor of this state. For many reasons, we cannot endorse Abrams ourselves, but neither can we stand aside while our friends and allies fight for something they know will make their lives better.