AJC’s radio program Politically Georgia hits the road, first stop Athens | Campus news

The University of Georgia’s North Campus had a unique buzz Thursday night as people filed into the UGA Chapel to watch a live recording of the Politically Georgia radio show produced by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Hosts Greg Bluestein, Patricia Murphy, Tia Mitchell and Bill Nigut discussed politics with special guest Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in front of about 300 spectators.

Politically, Georgia is a podcast six years in the making. It started in Bluestein’s basement, just him and his microphone. Now the show has four hosts and 545 episodes to date, covering Georgia politics from all angles and interviewing some of the state and country’s most important politicians.

The show’s hosts didn’t hold back and asked Kemp some of their most pressing questions, including whether or not he will run for the U.S. Senate, whether he will support former President Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential election, whether he will vote for Donald Trump in the Georgia primaries, what legacy he hopes to leave behind when his time as governor ends in 2026, and more.

The audience stood and clapped as Kemp took the stage to speak with the presenters. Kemp and his wife, First Lady Marty Kemp, grew up in Athens, Georgia, and he expressed his gratitude, saying it was “great to be home in Athens.”


Georgia Governor Brian Kemp speaks during the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Politically Georgia podcast at the University of Georgia Chapel in Athens, Georgia, on Thursday, April 19, 2024. (Photo/Laney Martin: @LaneyMartinPhotography)

Kemp’s support for Trump comes in 2024 and a Republican future

Just minutes into the show, Bluestein launched into a “burning question” regarding Kemp’s relationship with Trump.

“You said a few weeks ago that you would vote for Donald Trump, despite your long, controversial personal history with the former president,” Bluestein said. “But you didn’t say who you voted for in those presidential primaries. So, who did you vote for in that contest and why?”

“Who did you vote for?” Kemp responded without missing a beat.

The audience laughed and clapped after Kemp’s response.

Kemp further confirmed that he would “support the ticket in November” for the Republican candidate running for president.

Kemp expressed his invested interest in maintaining Republican majorities in the state legislature and therefore in implementing fiscally conservative policies.

Bluestein pointed to a recent statement from First Lady Kemp that made national news. Despite Governor Kemp’s willingness to vote for Trump in 2024, his wife is “still not ready” to vote for Trump. Instead, First Lady Kemp could enter her husband’s name for president at the ballot box in November.

Kemp said a step in the right direction is for the party to give people a reason to vote for them and look ahead to the future, not the past in the 2020 elections.

Biden and the current performance of the US legislature in Washington

Nigut raised questions about the other side of the presidential election, such as Kemp’s displeasure with the Biden administration. Nigut presented data from Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and how it has secured billions for the state.

“As far as you’re concerned, does President Biden get any credit for the infusion of money into this state, which is now beneficial?” Nigut asked.

In his response, Kemp did not give Biden much credit for the initiatives his administration has worked on and whether or not they have had a significant impact in Georgia.

Kemp agreed with some of Biden’s foreign policy and the way he has handled relations with allies such as South Korea, Japan and Australia, while also moderating more rocky relations with other countries such as China and Russia. However, Kemp is not happy with the way Biden has handled the conflict in the Middle East.

Immigration policy and the border

Kemp criticized the border crisis as a “political crime.”

“The American people want us to solve that problem. “I don’t know why Congress can’t come up with a way to secure the borders… and then start really good conversations about legal immigration policy in this country,” Kemp said.


Georgia Governor Brian Kemp speaks during the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Politically Georgia podcast at the University of Georgia Chapel in Athens, Georgia, on Thursday, April 19, 2024. (Photo/Laney Martin: @LaneyMartinPhotography)

Murphy contextualized immigration policy in the state with the death of 22-year-old Laken Riley on the UGA campus in February. Jose Antonio Ibarra, an undocumented immigrant, was arrested and charged with murder. This tragedy resulted in the state legislature passing legislation that “cracks down on” illegal immigration, as Murphy put it.

“How do you balance these types of bills with the fact that you are also governor of a state that has a very rapidly growing immigrant population — a large Latino population — and that some of the messaging from the Legislature felt very problematic to some immigrants?” Murphy asked.

In response, Kemp noted the importance of new people coming into the state and how it has benefited him politically.

“We’re an international state, we’re an international city, we’ve seen all kinds of demographics grow in our state,” Kemp said. “Politically it worked out for me. I feel like a lot of us can earn those people’s votes and their trust is really how we talk about these different issues.”

Kemp’s potential place in federal office and his legacy as governor

Kemp’s second term as governor ends in 2026. This raises questions about whether this will be the end of his political career.

“You’re speaking as a potential candidate for federal office,” Mitchell said. “Are you considering running for Senate?”

Kemp neither confirmed nor denied whether he would consider running for federal office. He is currently focused on supporting the 2024 presidential ticket and maintaining the Republican majority in the Washington legislature. After November, he might reconsider the question, he said.

Hosts ended their time with Kemp by acknowledging that he has two more years in office and asked Kemp what he thinks his “legacy” will be after his time as governor.


Event attendees sit during the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Politically Georgia podcast at the University of Georgia Chapel in Athens, Georgia on Thursday, April 19, 2024. (Photo/Laney Martin: @LaneyMartinPhotography)

The question seemed to catch him off guard because he hadn’t thought about it that long. Instead, he focused on governing rather than thinking about his legacy.

“I can’t really tell you what I want my legacy to be,” Kemp said. “I would probably just want people to think that whether people disagree with me or agree with me or like me or not, that at the end of my term they can at least say, ‘the man did what he did’. promised he would do it,” Kemp said.

To block

The hosts spent the second half of the show talking politics, analyzing their interview with Kemp and answering questions from the audience.

The questions ranged from a wide range of audience members of all ages, some even traveling from other parts of the state to see the show live.

In response to a question from the audience about local and state politics, the presenters emphasized the importance of local and state government in the lives of Americans and of “thinking globally, voting locally.” They argued that much of the important governance that affects individual lives ends up at the local level.

The final question asked to hosts was, “If you could change anything in the world, one thing, what would it be?”

Nigut’s answer was about the future of news and how he and his team at the AJC and Politically Georgia are working toward that future.

“I think the way news will be delivered in the future… the fact that we are now one of the pioneers in this whole idea of ​​media distribution, multi-platform news, what it means to me is a better informed citizenry and that’s what I would like to see for the world: more opportunities to give news to people on the platforms they choose,” said Nigut.

Listen to the full episode here on the AJC’s Politically Georgia.