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WTOC hosts Georgia Governor Republican Primary debate

Georgia Governor Republican Primary Debate
Georgia Governor Republican Primary Debate(WTOC)
Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 11:59 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 29, 2022 at 7:05 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - WTOC hosted a Georgia Governor Republican Primary Debate in Savannah on Thursday.

This 60-minute debate between top GOP gubernatorial candidates, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Former U.S. Senator David Perdue, was carried live across 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 Anchor Mike Cihla moderated the debate with contributing questions from panelists WALB Anchor/Reporter Jim Wallace, WCTV Anchor/Assignment Manager Edan Schultz, WGCL Anchor Rick Folbaum, WRDW Anchor/Managing Editor Richard Rogers, WTOC Anchor Dawn Baker, WTVM/WXTX News Anchor/Reporter Roslyn Giles.

“Providing our community with information to make the right choices about important decisions is why viewers trust WTOC,” said WTOC VP/General Manager Larry Silbermann.

“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 affecting all of us in Georgia,” said WTOC News Director Bari Soash.

Silbermann replied, “With the power of Gray TV, this Republican Primary Debate will be seen 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,” Governor Kemp said.

“Of course you’re lying Governor,” Perdue said.

But the one topic talked about the most, throughout the debate was that of alleged voter fraud, in the 2020 election.

“Brian kemp caved and allowed a stolen election,” Perdue said.

“He’s lying again,” Kemp said. “Stacey Abrams and him can’t admit they lost.”

“You failed us and let them steal the election,” Perdue said.

“I have no regrets,” Kemp said.

Former Senator Perdue pressed Governor Kemp over the reported rise in crime across certain areas of Georgia and the drop in law enforcement statewide.

“Let’s talk about your record… crime is up,” said Perdue. “He’s turned his back on law enforcement.”

It’s a charge Kemp vehemently denied.

“A lot of people are throwing law enforcement under the bus... I’ve been doing something about violent crime,” Kemp said.

The two also touched on the economy and the state’s income tax.

“Nine other states have no state income tax, they’re all kicking our butt right now,” Perdue said.

“Wages are rising in Georgia… strong economy in Georgia,” Kemp said.

A passionate debate ending, with one final passionate plea to voters.

“I’m fighting to protect my state,” Perdue said.

“We know we’re in the fight for the soul of our state,” Kemp said.

You can watch the full debate below:

To qualify for our debate, candidates needed to reach a 10 percent threshold in aggregate polling. The candidates debating Thursday night met that threshold.

Separately, we extended invitations to the other candidates for sit down interviews, Kandiss Taylor is the only one who accepted.

One-one-one with Kandiss Taylor

Jesus, Guns, and Babies. Morality over Money. And the Candidate for ‘We the People.’

Kandiss Taylor may not be leading in the polls for the Republican primary - but she is certainly making a name for herself.

“I’m real. I’m relatable because I’m one of the people,” Taylor said.

Taylor is an educator, wife, and mother of three from Baxley. Her campaign’s web site says she’s spent 19 years working in various roles in Georgia public schools.

She told WTOC she got into this race because she’s tired of what she calls “establishment politicians.”

Taylor says her top priorities are drug and prison reform, education, eliminating the state’s income tax, and immigration.

“What we have to do first of all is secure our borders of Georgia. We can’t allow all of this illegal activity coming in. Not just the drugs, but the illegal people who are coming in across our border,” Taylor said.

Taylor says drug and prison reform are also needed. The issue hits home for her.

“Gangs are running the prisons. They have drugs in there, they have cell phones. My brother’s in prison right now for drugs. He calls me high. He uses drugs more in prison than he was on the street,” Taylor said.

Taylor, an educator herself, believes there is a war underway for the minds of America’s next generation.

“We have a huge issue with critical race theory teaching oppression to our children and teaching racial division. We have a huge issue with social-emotional learning, that teaches communism. It teaches children to be all in their feelings, and it kills their passion and the American dream,” Taylor said.

Taylor has also made headlines for her comments on the separation of Church and State. Critics fear she does not respect the need for the two to remain separate.

Taylor says, her comments are misunderstood but she isn’t backing down.

“We’re in the bible belt. We’re moral people, we love Jesus. My slogan’s Jesus, guns and babies, and that kind of just happened when I made my slogan. And I’ve had people just attack me and rip me apart for it. But we have a country because of God,” Taylor said.

Taylor says regardless of what party you vote for, Americans have a common enemy: establishment politics.

“There are many issues in Georgia, and I think a lot of it is coming from establishment politicians on both sides of the aisle that care about making money. They’re not caring about the people and humanitarian issues; they care about making money. We have to get back to the people,” Taylor said.

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