Mr. Kemp doubled down on his support for a bill that prohibits teaching of “divisive concepts” on race and history, saying that Republicans in the state “passed this piece of legislation to make sure that our kids are not going to be indoctrinated in our schools,” and that curriculums should focus on “the facts, not somebody’s ideology.”
But Mr. Perdue accused Mr. Kemp of abrogating his responsibility to protect students, parents and teachers alike. “They need to make sure that the woke mob’s not taking over the schools, and you’ve left them high and dry,” he said, asserting that the Atlanta schools were “teaching kids that voter ID is racist.”
Answering a question about Latino voters, Mr. Perdue criticized Mr. Kemp’s record on immigration, recalling a 2018 campaign ad in which Mr. Kemp promised to use his own pickup truck to “round up illegals.”
“Governor, what happened? Your pickup break down?” Mr. Perdue asked.
Mr. Kemp said that the Covid-19 pandemic had intervened, saying that “picking up” people would only have helped spread infection in the state — and then reminded voters, for the umpteenth time, of Mr. Perdue’s defeat last year.
“The fact is, if you hadn’t lost your race to Jon Ossoff, we wouldn’t have lost control of the Senate, and we wouldn’t have the disaster that we have in Washington right now,” Mr. Kemp said.
A few clear-cut policy rifts did come into view over Georgia-specific issues.
The two took opposite views of a new factory to produce electric trucks that is being built by Rivian Automotive in the state. Mr. Kemp exalted the project for the thousands of jobs it is expected to create, while Mr. Perdue cited an investment by the Democratic megadonor George Soros to dismiss Rivian as a “woke company,” saying that the project would redirect Georgians’ tax dollars into Mr. Soros’s pocket.
Mr. Perdue attacked Mr. Kemp from several angles over rising crime in Atlanta, saying the governor had shrunk the size of the Georgia State Patrol and faulting him for failing to get behind an effort by some residents of Atlanta’s wealthy Buckhead neighborhood, alarmed about the surge in violent crime, to secede from the city.