RJC Holds GOP Republican Forum

Chuck Berk, co-chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition of Atlanta, had a couple of questions for the audience at the City Springs complex in Sandy Springs.

“How many of you in this room are supporters of Stacey Abrams? How many of you would like to see her elected?”

Photos by Ronen Schechter

Chuck Berk, co-chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition of Atlanta, at the Republican candidate forum in Sandy Springs on Aug. 26.// Photo by Ronen Schechter

Berk’s questions about the Democrat nominee for governor elicited chuckles, but no raised hands.

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And with that, the 175 men and women attending the Aug. 26 candidates forum sponsored by the RJC and the Fulton County Republican Party heard from the four men atop the GOP ballot in this November’s election.

First up was current Secy. of State Brian Kemp, who is seeking the top job.

“We have never been at a more critical time in a gubernatorial election,” said Kemp, who faces Abrams in the race to succeed two-term Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.

Kemp assured the faithful that the necessary resources will be available.

“You have seen the flow of outside money,” he said, referencing the funds Abrams has raised from outside Georgia. “And you’ve also seen It doesn’t matter how much they’ve got. As we say out in the country, it ain’t going to be enough, because we’re going to raise the money we need to and we’re going to work just as hard as they are.”

Targeting what Republicans see as an Abrams vulnerability, Kemp said, “It’s important, particularly for people in the Jewish community that traditionally are Democratic voters, to know this is not your traditional Democratic candidate for governor. This is someone that’s hanging out with Linda Sarsour and is being funded by people like George Soros.”

Abrams was photographed this past January at a women’s rally in Atlanta with Sarsour, a Palestinian-American activist; organizer of the women’s march in Washington, D.C., the day after President Trump’s 2017 inauguration, and a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Soros, whose financial support of various liberal causes has made him a frequent target of conservatives, has made the maximum allowable contributions to Abrams’ campaign.

Republican gubernatorial nominee Brian Kemp addresses the Aug. 26 GOP forum at the City Springs theater in Sandy Springs.//Photo by Ronen Schechter

“As governor, I’m going to continue to carry the legacy [of former Republican Governors Purdue and Deal] by purchasing Israel bonds. I’m going to take an economic development trade mission to Israel in my first term,” said Kemp, who added, to applause, that “I’m going to continue to fight and spread the message that Israel has a right to exist as a state and will will not invest in companies that support BDS.”

Kemp noted that while she was minority leader in the Georgia House, Abrams voted against a 2016 measure (which passed and signed into law by Deal) that bars the state from doing business with companies that support BDS (on grounds, Abrams has said, that it would set a precedent of the state deciding which boycott efforts to support).

“We’re in a tough situation right now because we’ve been in power for 16 years,” Kemp said. “We’ve got the greatest story to to tell, and we’re going to do that. But we also cannot get complacent and think that everybody believes that story when they’re this other message that’s out there.”

The last Democrat elected governor was Roy Barnes, who served 1999–2003.

“It sounds great to have universal health care, and that’s what Stacy Abrams says she wants to do, but she’s not saying how much it’s going to cost. And she is saying she’s going to have to take your tax dollars to do that . . . instead of giving it back to you, like I want to do.” Kemp said.

“Unfortunately, we’re not just running against Democrats in Georgia. We’re running against Democrats all over the country, including Hollywood. And they’re coming with everything they’ve got.” Duncan said. “This is the battleground, right here in Georgia. … This is the battleground and we’re going to prove that we’re right.”

Noting that Georgia uses 16-year-old voting machines, Raffensperger said, “We need to have something with a verifiable paper audit trail.”

He also used the occasion to mention a letter that he received in February 2017 from Amb. Judith Shorer, the Israeli Consul General to the Southeast, based in Atlanta, thanking him for introducing a House resolution promoting ties between Georgia and Israel.

Carr listed issues on which he considers among priorities: child sex trafficking, the opioid crisis, elder abuse, cyber crime, and the proliferation of criminal gangs.

Along with several Republican General Assembly candidates (and the father of an absent candidate) who spoke briefly at the end of the program was Joe Profit, a former Atlanta Falcons running back challenging Democratic incumbent Rep. Hank Johnson in Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District. “I’m tired of hearing insults when I talk about the Fourth District and Hank Johnson. I won’t embarrass you,” Profit said.

Originally published at atlantajewishtimes.timesofisrael.com.