Brian Kemp accuses Stacey Abrams of supporting boycotts that she discouraged

Brian Kemp accuses Stacey Abrams of supporting boycotts that she discouraged
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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp entered the general election part of Georgia’s 2022 gubernatorial race with serious momentum, defeating former Sen. David Perdue by a brutal 52 percent back in June. That primary was a total humiliation for former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Perdue while slamming Kemp as a RINO (Republican In Name Only) for refusing to join him in his bogus voter fraud claims following the 2020 presidential election.

Now, in the general election, Kemp is battling a Democratic rock star: liberal activist and party strategist Stacey Abrams, who he narrowly defeated in 2018. Polls released in late July showed Kemp leading Abrams by 5 percent (Cygnal and Insider Advantage), 3 percent (Beacon Research) or 1 percent (SurveyUSA), and one of the lines of attack Kemp has been using against Abrams is claiming that she supported a Major League Baseball (MLB) boycott of Georgia. But Daily Beast reporter Roger Sollenberger, in an article published on August 8, stresses that Abrams, in fact, tried to discourage that boycott — and that Kemp has promoted various boycotts when it came to causes he supported.

The MLB boycott was in response to Georgia’s voter suppression law. Although Abrams has been a vehement critic of the law, she didn’t promote the boycott.

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“Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp says he has a problem with boycotts, particularly ones related to Georgia’s new voting restrictions law,” Sollenberger explains. “But apparently, that repulsion to boycotts only applies to Democrats and issues he favors, because Kemp has personally proposed boycotts of his own. Kemp and his campaign have recently reupped false attacks on Democratic rival Stacey Abrams, accusing her, erroneously, of promoting a 2021 Major League Baseball boycott in Georgia as a means to pressure conservatives into repealing the new voting law Georgia passed in April 2021.”

Sollenberger continues, “While Abrams did not encourage that boycott — and, in fact, publicly discouraged it — Kemp himself personally called on Georgians to boycott companies when it suited his political agenda, and asked state legislators to take punitive economic action against Georgia-based Delta Airlines over ideological differences.”

On July 19, Kemp tweeted, “Last year, Stacey Abrams pressured MLB to move the All-Star game out of Georgia. After costing Georgia businesses $100 MILLION in lost revenue, imagine the damage Abrams would cause to our economy if she's elected Governor.” And on August 4, Tate Mitchell, Kemp’s press secretary, posted, “Reminder: Abrams actively encouraged businesses to boycott Georgia and flip-flopped when she was caught lying about it. Under @BrianKempGA, GA’s ability to attract jobs/investment has lapped the blue states who stayed shut down and who Abrams applauded for doing so.”

Sollenberger cites some examples of times when Kemp encouraged or promoted boycotts.

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“In 2018, as Kemp campaigned for governor, he encouraged citizens to boycott major companies who came out against the firearms industry in the wake of the Parkland massacre,” Sollenberger recalls. “Kemp framed the move as an expression of age-old conservative ‘free market’” values. In an interview with AmmoLand about a month after the shooting, Kemp was asked how gun owners can ‘fight back’ against corporations ‘from Wal-Mart to Citibank’ who were ‘trying to impose their beliefs on us.’”

Abrams has been campaigning on voting rights, and she considers Georgia’s voting law a blatant example of voter suppression. But she didn’t support the MLB boycott as a way to fight that law.

“Abrams did not, as the Kemp camp says, encourage the boycott that led MLB to pull the All-Star game out of Atlanta that year,” Sollenberger writes. “When that claim resurfaced this year, PolitiFact rated it ‘False,’ citing Abrams’ own words — an issue the site had also addressed after Kemp’s attacks at the time. As it turns out, the state’s most influential Democrat had actually taken the opposite position, asking supporters to ‘not boycott’ Georgia.

Sollenberger quotes the exact words that Abrams used on March 31, 2021 when she posted a video on Twitter.

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Abrams told viewers that she understood “the passion” behind the calls for boycotts before adding, “But here’s the thing: Black, Latino, AAPI (Asian American-Pacific Islander) and Native American voters whose votes are the most suppressed under SB 202 are also the most likely to be hurt by potential boycotts of Georgia. To our friends across the country, please do not boycott us. To my fellow Georgians, stay and fight, stay and vote.”

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