National heavyweights drop in on Georgia governor’s race

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — The winning can all go away in an instant.

That was the message that Donald Trump Jr. had for Georgia Republicans as he urged them to support Brian Kemp for governor.

With less than a month before November’s election, the hotly contested gubernatorial race is attracting visits from national heavyweights that show just how seriously both Democrats and Republicans are taking the contest.

Trump Jr. headlined an event for Kemp on Tuesday evening in Athens.

Earlier in the day U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, along with Ayanna Pressley, fresh off her primary victory over 10-term U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano in Massachusetts, were in Jonesboro with Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams, manning phones and firing up volunteers. Abrams is vying to become the first black female governor of any state.

The dueling visits seem sure to fire up the progressive and conservative bases of the parties, in a race that recent public polling shows locked in a dead heat.

In Athens, Trump Jr. said that electing Republicans like Kemp to positions of power in states was key to the success of his father, President Donald Trump. He touted policies implemented by his father including recent federal tax cuts and negotiations with North Korea before complimenting Kemp’s leadership in Georgia.

“As successful as my father has been, he cannot do it alone. He needs all of your help. We can keep this going,” Trump Jr. said.

“For the first time in a long time we see actual progress,” he said. “And what do the Democrats want to do? They want to reverse all of that.”

David Ellis, a 59 year-old Statesboro resident, wore a bright red Make America Great Again hat as he listened to Trump Jr. from the back of the crowded conference room.

Ellis said that he was motivated to vote Republican “especially after the Judge Kavanaugh issue,” saying he felt the process for confirming now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was unfair to the judge. Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the nation’s highest court was nearly derailed by decades-old sexual assault allegations.

Ellis also said that illegal immigration was a driving factor in his support for Trump and Kemp. Like Trump, Kemp has made hardline immigration enforcement a centerpiece of his campaign.

“I just feel that you should come into the U.S. legally and not jump a fence,” Ellis said.

“If the far left would stop working against him he would already have that wall built,” Ellis’s sister, 55 year-old Vidalia resident Susan Sheppard, said in reference to Trump’s aspiration to build a wall along the Mexican border.

Warren, meanwhile, made several campaign stops in Georgia for Abrams, and even made a few phone calls to rally support.

“Hello, this is Elizabeth Warren,” she said during one call. “I know you know this, but we’ve got less than 28 days to go and we need supporters that are going to help us make the difference.”

Monica Jones, a 45 year-old Riverdale resident who came to see Warren and Abrams campaign, said that health care was a big issue motivating her to support Abrams.

“I have parents who are aging, who are trying to take advantage of the health care system. Medicare has its challenges, so watching them try to navigate through that,” has Jones thinking more about her own health care costs, she said. Jones said she supports Abrams plan to expand access to federal health care funding in Georgia.

Warren told Abrams’ supporters that the race was about more than just the future of the Peach State.

“Every now and again you watch what’s going on in Washington, and as my daddy used to say, ‘a fish rots from the head,'” Warren said, portraying President Trump as a corrupt and inept leader.

“We’re gonna return power to the people and call out what’s going on in Washington. It’s corruption pure and simple and it’s going to stop,” Warren said.

Warren has been a frequent critic of President Trump’s, and Trump has been happy to return the favor. Trump mockingly referred to Warren, who is white, as “Pocahontas” in the past, a reference to Warren claiming Native American heritage during her academic career.

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