Brian Kemp, Stacey Abrams meet Monday in first of two high-stakes debates

Early voting begins as the nation’s most watched governor’s race is entering its final weeks
Georgia Gov. candidate Stacey Abrams and Georgia Gov. Kemp.
Georgia Gov. candidate Stacey Abrams and Georgia Gov. Kemp.(WRDW)
Published: Oct. 16, 2022 at 9:55 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 17, 2022 at 1:43 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Gov. Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams are set to meet in their first of two debates Monday night, as the nation’s most watched governor’s race enters its final weeks.

The debate begins at 7 p.m. on Georgia Public Broadcasting. Their second debate is set for Sunday, Oct. 30, only hours after former President Barack Obama appears in Atlanta on behalf of Abrams, a visit that was announced Saturday by the Georgia Democratic Party.

First Lady Jill Biden also appeared with Abrams on Friday. Former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler joined Kemp and Atlanta Young Republicans on Saturday.

The nation’s most watched governor’s race is entering its final weeks. Abrams is seeking to unseat Kemp and become the nation’s first Black female governor, while Kemp is seeking his second, and final, term.

This year’s race is a rematch of their epic 2018 race, in which they both sought the governor’s mansion, as then-Gov. Nathan Deal was constitutionally prohibited from seeking a third term. Kemp was then secretary of state, while Abrams had just finished up a term as a state House representative from intown Atlanta.

Full coverage of Georgia’s 2022 midterms

But this year’s rematch is much different from their 2018 encounter. Kemp now has a four-year record as governor of mostly popular conservative philosophies; oversees a strong state economy; and seems to have weathered a blistering attack from former President Donald Trump for not overturning the outcome of state’s 2020 presidential election.

Abrams narrowly lost that election to Kemp in a contest she has yet to concede.

Abrams, meanwhile, has been out of office since 2017 and is consistently trailing in the polls, the most recent coming Wednesday that showed Abrams trailing Kemp by 10 points.

Early voting began Monday in all of Georgia’s 2022 midterm elections.

State law requires local elections officials to allow early in-person voting beginning on the fourth Monday prior to a primary or election, and as soon as possible prior to the runoff.

Early voting ends on the Friday immediately prior to Election Day which, this year, is Nov. 8.