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COLUMN: My Choice for Governor in the Republican Runoff

Contributor Jessica Szilagyi discusses who she is supporting for Governor and why.

The opinion expressed below is the opinion of only the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia. AllOnGeorgia as an organization does not make endorsements of candidates in any race.

Any person supporting a particular campaign is welcome to submit an unfiltered editorial to for publishing.

I’m voting for Brian Kemp for Governor on July 24th and it’s not because I’m simply “anti-Cagle,” though I am in the strongest sense of the term.

In fact, I’m not just ‘against the other guy,’ I’ve had a 3×4 Kemp sign displayed in my yard since March of this year. I believe I’ve had fewer than five candidate signs in my yard over the last several years, so it’s safe to say I’m committed to why I’m supporting him.

I first saw Kemp as a gubernatorial candidate at the forum in Milledgeville. I was a moderator and had the opportunity to ask all of the candidates questions. Kemp seemed genuine and I remarked after the debate in my analysis that he appeared to be the only candidate of the five who appeared on stage to grasp the contrasting lifestyles in rural and metro areas across our state.

I then had the opportunity to sit down with all of the gubernatorial candidates – with the exception of Cagle, who refused – during the primary election. I spent an hour grilling Kemp on his positions and his plan for rural Georgia. He had recently released the plan and AllOnGeorgia was the first news organization to discuss the details. I assumed I would see him dodge a few questions or maybe even contradict himself throughout the lengthy interview, as most politicians do, but he did not. Kemp earned my vote that day.

I found it respectable that he answered all of my questions. I didn’t agree with every response, but he took a position and, from what I’ve seen over the last nine months, hasn’t wavered. I will take a candidate who I disagree with on a consistent basis over an inconsistent chameleon any day. Kemp isn’t on the campaign trail telling different groups of people different things. He is the same when he’s in jeans as he is when he’s in a suit.

I’ve lived in metro Atlanta and I now live in rural Georgia. The differences in quality of life are staggering. I’m not looking for a candidate who will “fix” rural Georgia because I don’t believe that’s the proper role of government, but to get government out of the way, one must first understand where government is the problem. Kemp made it clear that he does.

From health care to infrastructure to broadband internet and even education, Kemp’s answers illustrated that he wasnt just regurgitating what he’d put on his website. His positions were taken because of what he has seen, because he’s the only candidate who has actually visited rural communities.

(I’ve linked our interview at the bottom of this column)

Had you told me a year and a half ago that I’d have a nice Kemp sign in my yard, I would have laughed in your face. I’ve been a vocal critic of his while he’s served as Secretary of State. His teams knows that and I’m sure he knows that. (I was actually nervous about interviewing him after so much criticism, but he was nothing but humble and kind throughout.) Kemp is not perfect. He made some mistakes as Secretary of State.

But he isn’t running for Secretary of State. He’s running for Governor of this state and the offices are vastly different with two totally different operational positions. I feel strongly that Kemp is the most qualified candidate to lead Georgia with honesty and integrity.

I believed all of these things before Cagle’s infamous recordings came out, well before Cagle’s campaign accused me writing fake news, and long before the laundry list of unprincipled legislators lined up for #CagleLead. To me, those are just bonus points — further assurance that I’m supporting the right person.

This office isn’t one that’s supposed to operate off of political favors, backscratching, and “thank yous.” It shouldn’t be about special interest donations or “****ing politics.” It should be about someone who has conviction and a concrete belief system you can look to, even in the face of losing support. This election is about electing someone who will put the needs of others above his own.

I don’t believe Kemp will hold grudges or govern with a vengeance. I believe he’ll be someone who is accessible and accountable. I also believe that when he tells Georgians “NO” on an issue, there will be a reason — not a dollar — behind the decision. Successes seen will be seen in the lives of Georgians, not the reflection in the mirror. Aren’t those the qualities of a person in which this state is in dire need?

I expect him to make mistakes, as every elected official in the history of elected officials before him has. But I believe we’ll always know what to expect. And I also think we’ll be able to bring criticisms to the table with a Kemp governorship. Do you think we could say the same about a Cagle dictatorship governorship?

Issues and policies seem to change with the times and circumstances surrounding social trends, the economy, and so much more. That’s why we need to look to elect people of character because when everything else is fluctuating, character remains in tact. We have the opportunity to do that in the Peach State.

I hope you’ll join me in supporting Brian Kemp on July 24th.

Jessica Szilagyi is a former Statewide Contributor for

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