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GOP race for GA governor: The politics of money and advertising

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) - "By now you've heard the tapes," says Brian Kemp as he looks directly into the camera.  

It's part of a new ad in which Kemp hits hard at his opponent in the Republican primary for governor, Casey Cagle.

For weeks now, Kemp has used Cagle's own words against him - words that come from a phone recording made without Cagle's knowledge.

The recording was made by Clay Tippins, who was a candidate for the Republican nomination but didn't make it to the runoff.

"This is dirty tricks that are clearly taken out of context and the truth will come out," said Cagle on Wednesday as we talked with him at the opening of his Savannah campaign office.

Cagle says "it's now become very evident that both Kemp and Tippins were very much in coordination through all of this.  And we're going to push back we're going to push back hard because it was taken out of context and it was done under false pretense."

Just this week, another portion of the audio from that secret conversation was leaked.

This time Cagle can be heard saying that part of the Republican primary (when there was a field of five candidates) seemed to be mostly about "who had the biggest gun or the biggest truck or who could act the craziest." 

Cagle told us again that we are hearing only "excerpts" from a conversation he thought he was having privately with a political ally and personal acquaintance.

Cagle has a new ad of his own in which he stands before a crowd and says, "Dirty tricks and fake news is what we've come to expect."

Meanwhile, as Kemp attacks him on issues of character, Cagle is talking about Kemp as well in terms of donations.

"The only person who's broken the law is him," says Cagle. "And that's pretty evident because he's taking money from a group of people he regulates (as Secretary of State) and you can't do that legally."

With less than two weeks to go now before the July 24 runoff election, voters should look for a push from both campaigns in terms of ads and efforts to get out the vote.

Cagle and Kemp have reportedly raised about $15 million and the democrat in the race. Stacey Abrams is said to have already raised $6 million.


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