In Georgia Governor’s Race, a Defining Moment for a Southern State for Many Things-including Film Industry

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The Republican (Brian Kemp) won the nomination Tuesday after branding himself a politically incorrect conservative who would “round up criminal illegals” and haul them to the border in his very own pickup.

The Democrat all but opened her campaign by demanding that the iconic carvings of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson be sandblasted off Stone Mountain.

Almost overnight, Georgia’s captivating governor’s race between Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams has taken on the dimensions of a defining moment, one that will, regardless of outcome, determine what the state represents and how it is perceived.

Speaking after the rally, for instance, Mr. Kemp reiterated his support for state legislation that would replicate a federal law providing legal protection to individuals and businesses who tailor business practices to their religious beliefs. Opponents of the laws, which exist in several neighboring states, argue that they allow discrimination against serving or employing homosexuals and transgender people.

That pledge, and the countrified image Mr. Kemp created for himself in his ads, has prompted nervousness among some business leaders, particularly in Atlanta. The city’s cottage industry is corporate recruitment, often of global firms with diverse workforces, and it remains among the 20 locations in the running for Amazon’s coveted second headquarters. The film industry is now a major presence, thanks to generous tax incentives, and the Super Bowl comes to Atlanta in February.

Concerned about condemnation and boycotts, business leaders convinced Mr. Deal to veto so-called “religious freedom” legislation in 2016, but some wonder whether they would have the same success with Mr. Kemp. A.J. Robinson, president of Central Atlanta Progress, a downtown business group, said industries that normally support Republicans were waiting to learn more.

See more at the New York Times

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