Brian Porter Kemp is an American politician serving since January 2019 as the 83rd governor of Georgia. A member of the Republican Party, Kemp served as the 27th secretary of state of Georgia from 2010 to 2018, and as a member of the Georgia State Senate from 2003 to 2007.
Born in Athens, Georgia, Kemp is a graduate of the University of Georgia. Before entering politics, he owned several agribusinesses, financial services, and real estate companies. In 2002, he was elected to the Georgia State Senate. In 2010, Governor Sonny Perdue appointed Kemp secretary of state of Georgia after Karen Handel resigned to run for governor. Kemp was elected to a full term as Georgia secretary of state in 2010 and reelected in 2014.
Kemp’s time as secretary of state was controversial. He was criticized after a data breach of over six million voters' personal information to 12 organizations occurred in 2015. During the 2016 election, he was the only state official to reject help from the Department of Homeland Security to guard against Russian interference. In 2018, he ran for governor, facing Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams. He refused to resign as secretary of state while campaigning for governor, which stirred controversy and accusations of abuse of power from Democrats. Kemp won the general election with 50.2% of the vote, narrowly avoiding the threshold for a runoff election. He resigned as secretary of state on November 8. Abrams suspended her campaign on November 16 but did not concede, accusing Kemp of voter suppression, which he denied. News outlets and political science experts have found no evidence that voter suppression affected the result of the election.
As governor, Kemp opposed face mask mandates and stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, and he prohibited localities from implementing stricter public health measures than the state as a whole. After the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, he faced criticism from President Donald Trump for following the state law that required him to certify the results, despite Trump's repeated false claims of fraud in the election. In 2021, Kemp signed into law the Election Integrity Act of 2021, which expanded early in-person voting and increased the state government's control over local election officials. He was challenged by former U.S. Senator David Perdue in the Republican primary for governor ahead of his reelection campaign. Although Trump endorsed Perdue, Kemp defeated Perdue in a landslide to win the primary. In the 2022 Georgia gubernatorial election, Kemp defeated Abrams in a rematch by a wider margin than in 2018; she conceded defeat on election night.