Morning Digest: Georgia Republican called out for pointing his shotgun at a teenager in campaign ad
The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.
● GA-Gov: Republican Brian Kemp has avoided pointing guns at anyone in his general election ads, but the Georgia Democratic Party’s newest spot begins with a clip of Kemp’s infamous primary ad where he menacingly brandished a shotgun at a teenager named “Jake,” whom Kemp described as a young man “interested in one of my daughters.”
The narrator in the GDP’s ad describes Kemp as “pointing a shotgun at a teenager,” before declaring that Kemp renewed “a sexual abuser’s massage license, then refus[ed] to take responsibility” and defaulted “on a half-million dollar loan.” (You can find background on the former story here and the latter here.) The narrator sums up Kemp: “Unaccountable. Reckless. Irresponsible… Brian Kemp cannot be trusted.”
Kemp, meanwhile, is out with his own ad that features a woman identified only as “Amy” telling the audience that she’s known Kemp for 10 years and knows how “incredibly decent and honest” he is. Amy then argues that Democrat Stacey Abrams supported “letting sexual predators work near our schools,” and opposed a bill “cracking down on human trafficking.” She concludes that Abrams “even voted against collecting DNA from registered sex offenders,” adding that, “Victims of sexual violence deserve better. I know because I am one.”
This is the latest spot that tries to portray Abrams as weak on crime, which have prompted the looked media to look at the background to the legislation in question. In 2008, the GOP legislature successfully pushed for bills to reinstate laws regarding sex offenders that had been struck down by the state Supreme Court. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that one bill restricted sex offenders from “living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of places where children congregate, including schools and churches,” while another “proposed to prohibit registered sex offenders from photographing children.”
Democrats and civil rights called these restrictions too onerous, noting for instance that school bus stops could change location every year. They also feared that this legislation could end up driving offenders into areas where few services were available. A local organization called Mosaic Georgia that helps sexual assault victims also questioned how much these laws would help protect anyone.
As for the bill that Kemp says was aimed at “cracking down on human trafficking,” Abrams didn’t vote either for or against it. The AJC says this bill, which passed, “allowed prosecutors to charge people soliciting a victim of sex trafficking with human trafficking violations.” Abrams’ campaign said she had reservations about it because it limited the discretion of judges and required judges to sentence anyone found guilty to at least 10 years.