SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – The WTOC hosted a Republican primary debate by the Governor of Georgia in Savannah on Thursday.
This 60-minute debate between leading GOP gubernatorial candidates, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, and former US Senator David Perdue was broadcast live on the following eight Gray Television stations: WALB (Albany, GA), WCTV ( Tallahassee-Thomasville, FL), WGCL (Atlanta), WHNS (Greenville, SC), WRDW (Augusta, GA), WTOC (Savannah, GA), WTVM (Columbus, GA), and WTVY (Dothan, AL).
WTOC Presenter Mike Cihla moderated the debate with contributions from panelists, WALB Presenter/Reporter Jim Wallace, WCTV Presenter/Orders Manager Edan Schultz, WGCL Presenter Rick Folbaum, WRDW Presenter/CEO Richard Rogers, WTOC Presenter Dawn Baker, WTVM /WXTX Newscaster/Reporter Roslyn Giles.
“Equipping our community with information to make the right decisions when it comes to important decisions is why viewers trust the WTOC,” said Larry Silbermann, VP/General Manager of the WTOC.
“We are proud to host and organize this debate so our community and communities across the state can hear directly from the candidates on issues that affect us all in Georgia,” said WTOC News Director Bari Soash.
Silbermann replied, “With the power of Gray TV, this Republican primary debate will be watched by voters across the state of Georgia from Savannah to Columbus, Albany to Augusta and also Atlanta.”
It was a fiery debate that covered many topics.
“He’s lying again, folks,” Gov. Kemp said.
“Of course you’re lying, Governor,” Perdue said.
But the one topic most talked about throughout the debate was alleged voter fraud in the 2020 election.
“Brian Kemp relented and allowed a stolen election,” Perdue said.
“He’s lying again,” Kemp said. “Stacey Abrams and he can’t admit they lost.”
“They let us down and let them steal the election,” Perdue said.
“I have no regrets,” Kemp said.
Former Senator Perdue pressed Gov. Kemp over the reported rise in crime in certain areas of Georgia and the statewide decline in law enforcement.
“Let’s talk about your balance sheet…crime is up,” Perdue said. “He turned his back on law enforcement.”
It’s an accusation that Kemp vehemently denied.
“A lot of people throw law enforcement under the bus … I did something about violent crime,” Kemp said.
The two also addressed the economy and the state’s income tax.
“Nine other states don’t have a state income tax, they’re all kicking our ass right now,” Perdue said.
“Georgian wages are rising…strong economy in Georgia,” Kemp said.
A passionate debate ends with a final impassioned appeal to voters.
“I fight to protect my state,” Perdue said.
“We know we are fighting for the soul of our state,” Kemp said.
You can watch the full debate below:
To qualify for our debate, candidates had to reach a threshold of 10 percent in the overall poll. The candidates debating Thursday night reached that threshold.
Regardless, we invited the other candidates for interviews, Kandiss Taylor is the only one who accepted.
Jesus, guns and babies. morality over money. And the contestant for We the People.
Kandiss Taylor may not be leading the Republican primary polls — but she’s certainly making a name for herself.
“I’m real. I can identify because I’m one of the people,” Taylor said.
Taylor is a governess, wife and mother of three from Baxley. Her campaign website states that she worked in various roles in Georgia public schools for 19 years.
She told WTOC she got into this race because she’s fed up with what she calls “establishment politicians”.
Taylor says her top priorities are drug and prison reform, education, eliminating the state income tax and immigration.
“What we have to do first and foremost is secure our borders with Georgia. We cannot allow all this illegal activity to come in. Not just the drugs, but the illegal people coming across our border,” Taylor said.
Taylor says drug and prison reforms are also needed. The subject hits her.
“Gangs run the prisons. They’ve got drugs in them, they’ve got cell phones. My brother is in prison right now for drugs. He calls me high. He does more drugs in prison than on the street,” Taylor said.
Taylor, herself a preschool teacher, believes a war is on for the minds of the next American generation.
“We have a big problem with critical race theory teaching our children oppression and segregation. We have a big problem with the social-emotional learning that communism teaches. It teaches kids to be fully in their feelings, and it kills their passion and the American Dream,” Taylor said.
Taylor also made headlines with her comments on the separation of church and state. Critics fear she doesn’t respect the need for the two to separate.
Taylor says her comments are misunderstood, but she doesn’t back down.
“We are in the Bible Belt. We are moral people, we love Jesus. My slogan is Jesus, Guns and Babies and that just happened when I made my slogan. And I’ve been attacked by people and ripped to pieces for it. But we have a country because of God,” Taylor said.
Taylor says no matter which party you vote for, Americans have a common enemy: establishment politics.
“There are many problems in Georgia and I think a lot of them come from established politicians on both sides of the aisle who care about making money. They don’t care about the people and humanitarian issues; They care about making money. We need to get back to the people,” Taylor said.
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