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Abrams and Kemp spar over inflation and abortion in final debate

 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz wave to supporters at a rally in Athens on October 19, 2022.
Isabela Weiss / WUGA
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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz wave to supporters at a rally in Athens on October 19, 2022.

Georgia’s candidates for governor, minus Libertarian Shane Hazel, shared the stage for their final debate of the year on Sunday. Crime, reproductive rights, and inflation took center stage in the debate, hosted by WSB.

On inflation, Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams pointed to low wages as a primary driver of inflation in Georgia.

"The economic pain people are feeling, it's real," Abrams said. "And inflation is actually worse here in Georgia than in 36 other states in fact. The problem is that Georgia has some of the lowest wages in the nation, and because of that we need a governor who's going to use her power to focus on the costs that a governor can control."

Incumbent Republican Brian Kemp disagreed, blaming rising prices on one of his favorite targets.

"We've had two record years for economic development in a row, record number of investment, record number of jobs, and and people salaries are going up," Kemp said. "The problem is they're not going up fast enough to keep up with Joe Biden's inflation."

The politics and policy around abortion were also a major focus of the debate. Kemp, who signed the state’s controversial and restrictive abortion law into effect as governor, was pressed on whether he would support an even more restrictive law if one were to pass the legislature.

"It's not my desire to go move the needle any further on this," Kemp said.

A poll conducted by the University of Georgia on behalf of the Georgia News Collective and released earlier this month showed Kemp above the 50 percent mark and ahead of Abrams by ten points.

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.
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