AP NEWS

The Latest: Georgia GOP buries runoff to fight ‘liberals’

July 27, 2018 GMT

PEACHTREE CORNERS, Ga. (AP) — The Latest on the race for Georgia governor (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

Georgia Republicans wasted no time burying a contentious GOP runoff for governor and turning their attention to a common enemy: Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams and the “radical liberals” they say are trying to steer Georgia wrong.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the GOP nominee for governor, headlined a Republican “unity rally” Thursday night in a half-full ballroom at a hotel in Peachtree Corners, a suburb north of Atlanta.

U.S. Senator David Perdue, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson and sitting Gov. Nathan Deal were all in attendance. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Kemp’s opponent in the GOP primary, also spoke.

Kemp faces Abrams in what is set to be among the most closely watched of the November midterms.

Kemp said that the race wasn’t about the “big truck” he has featured in television advertisements, but was a battle for the very soul of the state.

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2:45 p.m.

Democrat Stacey Abrams isn’t engaging her Republican rival for Georgia governor or his supporter-in-chief — President Donald Trump — as she kicks off her campaign for the general election.

The Democrat, who is seeking to become the first black woman elected a U.S. governor, focused on jobs Thursday by touring an apprenticeship program for ironworkers near Savannah. It was Abrams’ first campaign stop since Republican Brian Kemp won a Tuesday runoff to become her opponent.

Abrams avoided a question about Trump, who called her an “open border, crime loving” candidate on Twitter. Asked about taking on Kemp in November, she said: “I’m going to win that election.”

Abrams began her general campaign far from Georgia’s Democratic base in Atlanta. She said she wants to meet voters “in every part of the state.”