Gov. Brian Kemp says he is ready for a possible rematch with Democrat Stacey Abrams

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp says that he has been preparing for a possible rematch against 2018 Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams for three years.

Abrams, the former state House Minority Leader and voting rights activist, said Wednesday that she plans to enter the race.

Kemp spoke to reporters Thursday at the Georgia State Capitol.

“Look, I have been preparing for this fight for three years. And we are ready for it,” Kemp said. “This is no surprise yesterday what Stacey Abrams did getting in the governor’s race. That’s what we fully expected the whole time.”

Kemp says the national reaction to Abrams’ announcement is good for Georgia Republicans.

“I love it. It’s not shocking. That is why we have been working so hard. I think it is a rallying point for Republicans,” he said. “We gotta fight like we have never fought before.”

In 2018, Kemp defeat Abrams by 54,723 votes or 1.3%.

With such close numbers, the election was highly scrutinized for voter suppression allegations brought against Kemp, who served as the Georgia secretary of state at the time of the election. Kemp has denied the allegations.

On Thursday, Kemp mainly touted his record as governor, but did criticize Abrams for issues like the controversy over Major League Baseball moving the All-Star Game out of Georgia.

Kemp also attacked President Joe Biden’s administration on a number of issues including the economy.

During the press conference at the state Capitol, Kemp was asked about recent comments by former President Donald Trump and other conservatives attacking his re-election bid.

“I can’t control what other people are doing. Trump supporters and Kemp supporters and Georgia Republicans and Georgia voters know what my record is,” Kemp said. “It is record that I told them when I ran in 2018. And that is what I am going to remind people. And I believe that they understand that, I will be re-elected.”

Kemp also addressed reports that former U.S. Sen. David Perdue is considering a run against him after Perdue originally told Kemp that he would support Kemp’s re-election bid.

“All I know is what Sen. Perdue has told me, I hope he’ll be a man of his word, but again that’s not anything I can control,” Kemp said. A run by Perdue would likely have Trump’s backing.

Georgia’s party primaries are May 24, 2022. The general election is on Nov. 8,  2022.