Getting to know two major GOP candidates for governor: Cagle and Kemp

By Vlada Galan

The heat has turned up the last few weeks in Georgia, and we don’t mean just the weather. As we ride this wave into the 2018 cycle, zpolitics will take a deeper look into many candidates for governor to determine who truly has what it takes. We recently caught up with two front early runners, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp, to get to know them and their candidacies better.

Many candidates in the 2018 Governor’s race can easily be labeled as “Gold Dome insiders,” but is that necessarily a bad thing? Knowing the playing field helps one understand the game. Cagle and Kemp know that field well. While they may seem to have a great deal in common, they are, in fact quite different, and appeal to different segments of the GOP base.

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, like most candidates in both parties, wants to create jobs. In addition, he wants to improve the state’s infrastructure, focus on tax and regulatory reform, and, of course, has a well-known passion for education.

"I know what it’s like to live in a trailer, I know what it’s like to live in an apartment, and I remember the remarkable feeling of earning the keys to the first house I ever lived in," Cagle said. "I want to be sure that the same opportunities for success that I have known are available to every Georgian. That is why I am running for governor. Big opportunities, not big government, is the answer."

Cagle boasts a five-part economic plan that promises to cut taxes and boost the economy. It certainly worked for Governor Deal.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Brian Kemp has made his own platform very distinct, and labels himself as a “conservative small businessman with a track record of fighting - and winning - for Georgia.” Kemp runs on the platform of Making Georgia #1 for small business, reforming state government, strengthening rural Georgia communities, supporting farmers, and defunding sanctuary cities. 

"As a small business man, I saw firsthand how state government was killing hard-working Georgians with massive spending initiatives, big government programs, burdensome regulations, big budgets, high taxes, and hidden fees," Kemp told zpolitics. "And to make matters worse…you had career politicians…voting for billions in new spending, programs that picked winners and losers, red tape, and mandates on small business owners like me. I ran for State Senate because I was fed up and had enough. I knew there had to be a better way."  

Kemp boasts a four-point plan, but the issues he covers differ significantly from Cagle’s platform.

The two potential front runners intersect in the middle to a degree when looking at the issues pertaining to the economy, with both wanting to focus on boosting the economic environment in Georgia and continuing on the strong economic leadership of Governor Nathan Deal. But they do have their differences.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp has been toying with the idea of a Governors run for some time. This is evident is his very organized grassroots network, which spans statewide and includes several prominent endorsements from statewide officials and political activists in every county. Kemp appeals to rural Georgia especially with his background in agriculture, yet Cagle knows how to charm the Metro areas where he will have access to key donors. South Georgia will also be a key part of the state in which many candidates don’t hold a strong footing. Kemp is not to be dismissed in this regard, as he will make a strong play in the southern part of the state where heavy donations can be gained and key votes secured.

Cagle’s motto continues to be “Lead,” while Kemp stands for “Putting Georgians First.” One thing is certain, Republican’s must do both if they hope to keep the Governor’s Mansion. Democratic candidates like Stacy Evans will be strong if they make it into the general, and whoever the Republican candidate ends up being must be ready to win the war, not just the battle.

Vlada Galan is an international political consultant helping conservative politicians get elected throughout the world. A native of Odessa, Ukraine Vlada currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia where she has worked on several state wide races. Vlada may be contacted at

Christy RigginsComment