However, Republican support for the bill also reflects some of the more subtle political forces at work in a hotly contested southern state, where black voters tend to vote for Democrats and white voters tend to back Republican candidates .
Brian Robinson, a Georgia-based political strategist, recalls his Twitter feed, which was filled with outraged comments from fellow Republicans after the video of the shooting went viral. What people saw in the video, he said, was not like a high-profile police shootout “where some people see a murder and some a policeman acting appropriately or reasonably on an accused situation”.
“I think we could all imagine the horror of running down the street and seeing someone jump out at you with a gun,” he added. “I think it hit on a human level, not just blacks or whites.”
Mr Kemp was among the Republicans denouncing the murder, a notable position of an elected leader who pointed a shotgun at a teenage boy hoping to date his daughter in a 2018 campaign ad and suggested in another ad that he could use self-help measures to take his pickup truck to “collect criminals”.
After campaigning for the Hate Crime Act, Mr. Kemp led efforts to pass citizen arrest reform. Mr Arbery, he said, “has been the victim of a vigilant style of violence that has no place in our state, and some have tried to justify the actions of his killers by claiming they have the protection of an outdated law for which they are ripe Abuse.”
Mr Kemp is facing a monumentally complex task as he is aiming for re-election next year. Former President Donald J. Trump, who gave Mr Kemp a big boost with an endorsement in a runoff election in 2018, later incriminated the governor, saying he was ashamed of the endorsement after Mr Kemp turned down Mr Trump’s requests that he did November presidential election results in Georgia turned upside down.
Mr Trump, who lost the state by around 12,000 votes, has suggested a primary challenge against Mr Kemp.