Georgia 2018: Where the candidates for Governor stand on the issues


ATLANTA – Georgia voters are set to elect a new governor in 2018. The primary election is today.

Learn about how the candidates plan to take on the major issues facing the state. 

Cagle: Would cut taxes by $100 million in the first 100 days of his administration and seek further tax cuts. 

Kemp: Plans to put a cap on state spending, adjusted for growth and inflation and eliminate “wasteful” tax incentives. 

Hill: Would eliminate the state income tax over seven years, replacing much of the roughly $10 billion it generates each year with a broader sales tax and budget cuts. 

Tippins: Calls for an overhaul of state budget to maximize spending on transportation, public safety and education. 

Williams: Would eliminate the state income tax and replace it with state sales tax. 


Abrams: Wants to reverse the state tax rate cut enacted in this year’s legislative session in order to expand Medicaid. Backs tax credit for lower-income families. 

Evans: Backs state income tax cut adopted in this year’s legislative session. Backs tax credit for lower-income families. 



Cagle: Says he is open to pursuing a waiver from the federal government in order to gain more money for Medicaid, so long as it includes a work requirement. 

Kemp: Opposes expansion 

Hill: Opposes expansion 

Tippins: Opposes expansion 

Williams: Opposes expansion 

[2018 Georgia midterm elections: When to vote, how to register, what to bring]


Abrams: supports expanding Medicaid 

Evans: supports expanding Medicaid 



Cagle: Pushed for and continues to promote the College and Career Academy Network, a program of 46 schools that combines college courses with tech school training. 

Kemp: Would support “school choice” effort by doubling the state tax credit for student scholarship organizations and boost funding for charter schools. 

Hill: Calls for more parental control of how children are educated and less “micromanaging” of teachers. 

Tippins: Focuses education policy on boosting third-grade literacy rates. 

Williams: Supports expanding school voucher programs and boosting home-schooling initiatives. 


Abrams: Supports “historic investment” in early childcare and learning and public schools and a needs-based higher education scholarship. Says she staved off deeper cuts to lottery-funded HOPE scholarship by working with Republicans to keep the program solvent. 

Evans: Calls for more funding for public schools and a “community” school model. Has made expanding access to HOPE scholarship the centerpiece of her campaign and says Abrams “betrayed” Democrats by working with Republicans in 2011 on the changes. 

Gun laws


Casey Cagle: Opposes new gun restrictions and said he supports “constitutional carry” – the right to legally carry a weapon openly or concealed without a permit – after initially objecting to it. Won NRA’s endorsement after vowing to “kill” a tax break for Delta when it broke ties with pro-gun group. 

Hunter Hill: After the Parkland school shooting suggested he might support raising the age requirement for purchasing assault rifles to 21, but quickly backtracked and announced support for “Constitutional Carry.” Filmed ad at shooting inch vowing he won’t “give an inch” on gun laws. 

Brian Kemp: Opposes new gun restrictions and backs “constitutional carry.” Ran provocative ad showing him brandishing shotgun next to young man courting his daughter. Won support from GeorgiaCarry.Org, a pro-gun group. 

Clay Tippins: Opposes new gun restrictions and supports “air marshal” system at schools to arm some teachers trained to use firearms with weapons. Ran an ad claiming Hill was a traitor for his gun views. 

Michael Williams: Opposes new gun restrictions, supports “constitutional carry.” 

[RESULTS: Live, real-time election results]


Stacey Abrams: Supports stricter gun laws, including universal background checks for private sales of firearms and a repeal of the “campus carry” legislation that allows permitholders to carry weapons on college campuses. 

Stacey Evans: Supports stricter gun laws, including new rules to prevent “dangerous” people from buying weapons. Wants to roll back gun rights expansions, repeal “campus carry” law. 

Criminal Justice/drug policy


Cagle: Backed commission to study expanding state’s medical marijuana program, supported Gov. Nathan Deal’s criminal justice overhaul 

Kemp: Supports bolstering state’s anti-gang initiative, opposes in-state cultivation of medical marijuana 

Hill: Opposes in-state cultivation of medical marijuana 

Tippins: Pledges to crack down on sex trafficking, supports in-state cultivation of medical cannabis oil. 

Williams: Supports expanding medical marijuana program. 


Abrams: Pledges to eliminate the use of cash bail for some poor defendants, backs taking steps to decriminalize marijuana, expanding accountability courts and ending capital punishment. 

Evans: Calls for an end to private prisons in Georgia, supports in-state cultivation of medical marijuana, backs taking steps to decriminalize marijuana. 



Cagle: Backed an unsuccessful measure in the state Legislature this year that would have required state judges and local sheriff’s deputies to help with federal immigration enforcement. He also filed a complaint against Decatur over the city’s enforcement of immigration law. 

Kemp: Has proposed creating a database for tracking unauthorized immigrants with criminal convictions and for speeding up their deportations. 

Hill: Has been mirroring President Donald Trump’s opposition to so-called sanctuary cities, which don’t fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities. 

Tippins: Has called for new law enforcement intelligence-sharing programs for cracking down on illegal immigration.  

Williams: Wants to withhold state funding from counties that don’t apply to join the federal 287(g) program, which authorizes local officials to help enforce federal immigration laws. 


Abrams: Opposed Georgia House Bill 87, a crackdown on illegal immigration that lawmakers approved in 2011, saying it has “harmed our immigrant and refugee communities.” 

Evans: Opposed a move in the state Legislature to strip state funding for private colleges that won’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities. 

Religious Liberty


Cagle: Pledged to sign “religious liberty” measure 

Kemp: Pledged to sign “religious liberty” measure 

Hill: Pledged to sign “religious liberty” measure 

Tippins: Wouldn’t sign pledge to adopt “religious liberty” measure, saying he wanted flexibility. 

Williams: Pledged to sign “religious liberty” measure 


Abrams: opposed bills that threatened to legalize discrimination or allow some Georgians to be treated differently under the law. 

Evans: opposed bills that threatened to legalize discrimination or allow some Georgians to be treated differently under the law. 



Cagle: Says he will “defend life at all stages,” hasn’t specified new abortion restrictions he would back. 

Kemp: Has pledged to enact nation’s toughest abortion restrictions. 

Hill: Promises to promote “a culture of life in our state and sign any bill that further protects innocent life.” 

Tippins: Says he’ll “work to protect the lives of unborn children.” 

Williams: Says he’ll back legislation with ultimate goal of banning all abortions. 


Abrams: Opposes further abortion restrictions 

Evans: Opposes further abortion restrictions

This article was written by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

© 2018 Cox Media Group.

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