Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams face each other in first debate in Georgia’s gubernatorial race

atlanta – Republican government Brian Kempo and his Democratic challenger Stacy Abrams Tonight is once again head-to-head in their first two scheduled debates. But the pair have met on the debate stage several times in the past during their first matchup 2018 election,

most recently CBS News Battleground Tracker Poll Kemp shows a gain of 52% to 46%. Early in-person voting began Monday in Georgia, and even those who have already cast their vote told CBS News they still plan to watch Monday’s debate. Olivia Bonei, who voted in Cobb County early today, said she is ready to see how her candidate Abrams does, but she has hopes for both candidates.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp/Stacey Abrams

Paras Griffin, Getty Images

“I hope Stacy does her normal job, she’s very forthright, she is very smart,” Bonnie said. “I’m really hoping this is a debate where two candidates respect each other, as opposed to the moderator trying to interfere with the candidate’s responses.”

Sid Welch, who voted early Monday, will be watching to see if Kemp remains as focused on his record as Welch believes he should.

“The progress he has made in four years is hard to beat,” Welch said. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Sue Garner has also voted, but she’s still hoping to learn more about where each candidate stands.

“I want to see what both of their stances are,” Garner said. “They both have things I like, but they both have things I don’t like.”

Kemp plans to focus on his record as governor, according to spokesman Tate Mitchell, and will also push for a “plan to build a safer, stronger Georgia” unlike Abrams, which Mitchell argued ” Fighting to keep Georgia shut, kids barred from class, police defiance and cash bail out.”

Abrams’ campaign declined to talk about her strategy, though in an interview with CBS News last month, she previewed some of the points she might make about Kemp on Monday night.

“With the erosion of voting rights, the abolition of reproductive rights and the closure of hospitals, under this current governor, I know people are animated,” Abrams said. “They know they deserve more.”

Kemp, who spoke to CBS News last month, said he was running on the economy.

“I’ve done what I’ve told people I’ll do when I run in 2018,” Kemp said. “We’ve got a great economy here in the state of Georgia. We’re helping people fight 40 years of high inflation because of the policies this president embraced, Stacey Abrams.”

Liberal candidate Shane Hazel will also be on the debate stage this evening. The debate is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET and can be livestreamed on the Georgia Public Broadcasting website.

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