Gov. Brian Kemp

ATLANTA – Georgia’s leading business organization endorsed Gov. Brian Kemp Monday for reelection next year.

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce cited the Republican governor’s emphasis on economic issues during his first term in office.

“Governor Kemp has made economic growth a priority in Georgia,” said Ben Tarbutton, president of Sandersville Railroad Co. and the chamber’s 2022 board chairman.

“Despite the challenges facing our state during the pandemic, Governor Kemp has led us in being designated the No.-1 state in which to do business for the eighth consecutive year as we boast record unemployment levels – a feat no other state can tout.”

“Our governor embodies all the characteristics of a true servant leader focusing on the health, safety and livelihoods of all Georgians during these unprecedented times,” added Chris Clark, the chamber’s president and CEO.

“His positive working relationships with the business community and with organizations like the Georgia Chamber have paved the way for tremendous growth in our state over the last three years, making Georgia the envy of the nation.”

Kemp has drawn opposition from within the Republican Party since refusing to back then-President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn last year’s election results in Georgia.

Former state Rep. Vernon Jones is seeking the GOP gubernatorial nomination, running as a Trump loyalist. Former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., is seen in some corners as a more difficult potential primary challenger to Kemp, but Perdue has not announced whether he will run.

On the Democratic side, the governor could face a rematch with former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, who lost to Kemp in 2018. But Abrams, too, has yet to reveal her intentions for 2022.

Kemp said he is honored to have the Georgia Chamber in his corner going into next year’s race.

“During my first three years in office, I’ve been proud of stand alongside the industry leaders, local chambers and business owners represented by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce to continue building a business climate that is unrivaled across the country,” the governor said.

“Working alongside these hardworking Georgians, we kept Georgia open for business during a once-in-a-century pandemic. … Thanks to their partnership, we are leading the nation in economic recovery with record low unemployment and unprecedented jobs and investment coming to the Peach State.”

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.