Neither Brian Kemp or Stacey Abrams joined President Donald Trump on his trip to middle Georgia on Monday to survey damage from Hurricane Michael. But the storm has still whipped up the governor’s race.
Kemp traveled to southwest Georgia on Saturday to help local officials prepare for the start of early voting and returned to the area on Monday.
His campaign organized a disaster relief drive and plans to address the storm’s impact on rural Georgia on Tuesday at an agriculture expo in Moultrie.
“The response on the ground, while there is much to do, has been unbelievable from the federal, state and friends and neighbors who are helping men and women indeed,” Kemp said Monday at a Bainbridge distribution center. “It makes you proud to be in Georgia.”
The Abrams’ campaign has purchased key supplies, like water and flashlights, for field offices in Albany and Columbus to be distributed to needy residents. She’s also likely to visit hard-hit areas during her bus tour later this week.
At a stop in Macon, Abrams ticked through the spate of monstrous storms that ravaged her hometown of Gulfport, Miss. as she outlined her approach to disaster recovery if elected.
“It’s about immediate response and also about long-term planning,” she said. “And I’m running for governor because I believe in making sure that we have a leader who sees these communities not only in the moment of devastation and the immediate aftermath, but a year out when folks have walked away and supplies have dwindled."
Stacey Abrams’ newly-launched bus tour was designed to promote this week’s start of early voting. And the first stop of the tour, at a church in Forsyth, put the campaign’s strategy on full display.
As more than 100 Abrams supporters packed the pews, they were handed signs, banners and fans plastered with her name. Campaign aides spread out to gather their addresses and contact information, and many were encouraged to volunteer.
Then came Abrams, who entered the congregation to a rousing introduction accompanied by the church’s organ. She implored her supporters to “lift the volume” on voter participation, stressing polls that showed the race in a statistical tie.
“I have faith in all of you, but I need y’all to work. We’ve got to volunteer every single day to turn out every person who should be in this room but you know is not here,” she said. “This is not a fight of miles. This is a fight of inches.”
As soon as she finished, her campaign’s volunteers deployed to the doors with thick stacks of paper at the ready. Each “vote early” flyer featured a smiling picture of Abrams and an address of the nearest polling place.
In Georgia, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor don’t run on the same ticket. But Stacey Abrams and Sarah Riggs Amico may as well be.
Abrams mentioned Amico at nearly every campaign stop, and her signage featured both their names above the slogan: “We ARE Georgia.”
Georgia has 159 counties. “Glascoe” isn’t one of them.
During a live interview Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Stacey Abrams was asked about the government’s response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael in southwest Georgia.
Said Abrams: “Areas like Albany, or Glascoe County, Terrell, and parts of southwest Georgia were very strongly devastated.”
She may have meant to say Glascock County, a sparsely populated county in northeast Georgia near Augusta. Either way, Republicans quickly mocked her.