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GOP gubernatorial rivals trade jabs at debate before runoff

GOP gubernatorial rivals trade jabs at debate before runoff

Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle leveled relentless attacks against each other’s trustworthiness during Sunday’s final televised debate before the July 24 GOP runoff for governor. [WATCH: See the full debate here on our WSB-TV Facebook Page] Cagle defended himself against Kemp’s repeated references to a secretly made audio recording of the lieutenant governor that surfaced last month. Meanwhile, Kemp fended off accusations that his office mishandled confidential voter data and that he personally defaulted on a $500,000 loan. Just three days earlier, the candidates faced off in a debate hosted by the Atlanta Press Club, also attacking each other’s records and credibility. With the runoff quickly approaching to determine the party’s gubernatorial nominee, the contest is neck-and-neck. An Atlanta Journal Constitution/Channel 2 Action News poll of likely voters released Friday showed Kemp with a lead of 44 percent to Cagle’s 41 percent, with nearly 15 percent of voters undecided. TRENDING STORIES: 2 GOP candidates for governor spar in heated debate on Channel 2 Cleanup underway after flash flooding at Clayton County apartment complex Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl to remain College Football Playoff game through 2026 Kemp needled Cagle over the surreptitious recording that surfaced last month. In the audio, recorded by former Republican candidate Clay Tippins, Cagle admits to voting for an education bill he said was “bad” in order to appease donors and he describes the primary as a contest to see which candidate “could be the craziest.” “Casey Cagle’s willing to put politics ahead of policy and he’s also willing to trade campaign contributions for votes,” Kemp said on Sunday. “You can’t believe anything this guy’s saying; it’s clear because of the tape.” Kemp made reference to the tape as frequently as possible during Sunday’s debate, a move that Cagle criticized as a way to distract from discussion of Kemp’s past record. “Again, what we’re seeing is a candidate who has no vision for Georgia,” Cagle said. “All he has is a tape.” Since the release of the recording, Kemp has called for criminal corruption charges to be brought against Cagle. After Thursday’s debate, he claimed that Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard will charge Cagle “as soon as this race is over.” (Howard declined to comment.) The secretary of state has also ramped up attack ads in recent weeks slamming Cagle for his remarks in the recording. In response, Cagle’s camp has called the suggestions of criminal charges laughable. His team has simultaneously called for law enforcement to investigate donations Kemp received from business leaders in industries that the Secretary of State’s Office is charged with regulating. Cagle also used the debate to snipe at Kemp for an ongoing lawsuit that alleges Kemp defaulted on a $500,000 loan. The next hearing on the lawsuit will be held in a Gwinnett County courtroom July 25, the day after the GOP runoff. “You never paid him back,” Cagle said. “What we see here is a pattern of not owning up.” In response to a question about concerns that Georgia could be a target for Russian hackers attempting to influence elections, Kemp insisted that his office has ensured that voter information is safe. The lieutenant governor also slammed Kemp for releasing voter information to media outlets that was meant to remain confidential. “It’s good to see that Pinnochio 2.0 has arrived at our second debate,” Kemp said. “We have never been hacked.” Kemp also slammed Cagle for his use of state-funded flights. An investigation by the AJC earlier this month showed that Cagle has racked up over $250,000 in air travel costs, regularly flying between Atlanta and his home in Gainesville. Cagle defended the flights as a crucial part of his job. “I’m not going to use a state aircraft to fly from Athens to Atlanta like the lieutenant governor used to commute from Atlanta to Gainesville,” Kemp said. Early voting for the July 24 contest is already underway. The winner of the Republican nomination will face off against Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams, who has been quietly raising money from local and out-of-state donors.

UGA Police issue warning after attempted abduction

UGA Police issue warning after attempted abduction

University of Georgia police are issuing a warning after an attempted abduction took place overnight in Downtown Athens.  From the UGA Police Department:  Timely Warning - Attempted Abduction:On 07/13/18 at approximately 2:00 a.m. the UGA Police Department received a report of an attempted kidnapping incident. An acquaintance of the victim called police and reported that approximately 30 minutes earlier, the victim was walking back to her vehicle in the area of Thomas Street and Broad Street near the 'Triangle parking lot' located at the corner of Broad Street and Oconee Street when an unknown individual grabbed her around the waist from behind. The complainant reported that during the incident the victim observed a dark colored vehicle with an open door occupied by a driver nearby. The victim believed that the unknown individual was possibly attempting to drag her towards the vehicle according to the complainant. The complainant reported that when the victim physically resisted, the perpetrator let her go and ran to the vehicle, which then drove from the scene in an unknown direction. The complainant reported that the victim received several scratches during the incident. No further description of the individuals or vehicle involved in the incident are known at this time. We urge all people to call the police immediately if they see individuals lingering in the area or acting suspicious in any way. Anyone who may have information regarding this incident is asked to contact the University of Georgia Police Department at 911 or 706-542-2200.

Russia probe looms over Trump-Putin summit meeting

As President Donald Trump flew to Helsinki, Finland for his Monday meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Democrats in Congress demanded that Mr. Trump scrap the summit, pointing to last week’s federal indictments of a dozen Russian Intelligence officers as part of the sweeping investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States election.

“Donald Trump must press Putin hard on the issue of election interference,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer on Sunday, as Democrats made clear they want tough words from the President on the Russia investigation relayed directly to the Putin.

The President’s schedule said Messrs. Trump and Putin [More]