Brian Kemp

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Brian Kemp
Brian Kemp.png
Georgia Secretary of State
In office
January 8, 2010 - Present
Term ends
January 12, 2015
Years in position 5
PredecessorKaren Handel (R)
Base salary$123,636
Elections and appointments
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Campaign $$2,416,578
AppointedJanuary 2010
Appointed byGov. Sonny Perdue
Term limitsNone
Prior offices
Georgia State Senate
High schoolClark Central High School
Bachelor'sUniversity of Georgia
Place of birthAthens, Georgia
ProfessionBusinessman, Real Estate
Office website
Campaign website
Brian P. Kemp is the current Republican Georgia Secretary of State. He was appointed to the statewide position by Governor Sonny Perdue on January 8, 2010 to fill the vacancy left behind by Karen Handel (R) following her resignation to work full time on her gubernatorial campaign. [1][2] He won election to his first full term as secretary of state in 2010. After a contentious Republican primary battle against Doug MacGinnitie, Kemp defeated Democrat Georganna Sinkfield and Libertarian David Chastain in the general election on November 2, 2010, garnering 56.4% of the vote.[3]

When Kemp was appointed, he became only the second Republican since Reconstruction to hold the office in Georgia.[4]

Prior to becoming secretary of state, Kemp gained government experience serving in the Georgia State Senate. He served in the legislature from 2003-2007, where he chaired the public safety & homeland security and higher education committees. He ran for State Agriculture Commissioner in 2006, but lost in the Republican primary contest.[5]

Kemp is a businessman and owner of Kemp Properties, a "small business specializing in real estate investments and property management."[6]


Kemp was born and raised in Athens, Georgia. He graduated from Clark Central High School and received his B.S. in Agriculture from the University of Georgia. Apart from his political career, he is the owner of Kemp Properties, a small business specializing in real estate investments and property management. He is a member of Habitat for Humanity, a Committee Chair for a Sexual Assault Center and the past President of Athens Area Homebuilders Association.[7]


  • Clark Central High School
  • Bachelor's of Science degree, University of Georgia in agriculture

Political career

Georgia Secretary of State (2010-present)


Licensing reform
See also: Duties of the Georgia Secretary of State

One of Kemp's responsibilities as Secretary of State is to oversee the services of state licensing boards, which set "policies and standards, determine how much education and experience is needed and which exams applicants must pass."[8]

Kemp sought to change the licensing system through a proposal, contained in Senate Bill 445, which would transfer licensing authority from Georgia's 43 licensing boards and about 300 board members to Kemp's staff and a new board of seven people appointed by the governor. Kemp believed this would reduce application processing and license issuing time, and increase overall efficiency of the system. Kemp cited Texas as an example of a state which has successfully consolidated its licensing fleet, cutting major costs that would normally go toward travel and conferencing expenses for the various board members.

The reform stood to affect about a half-million Georgians who rely on licenses to work, with nurses representing the largest fraction of licensed professionals (111,149 as of February 2012) and the chief critics of the proposal. Kemp's staff shrunk substantially following the recession, raising doubts as to whether the small staff could do the job thoroughly in the same amount of time (or less time, as Kemp claimed), than the board responsible for issuing nursing licenses. "If a barber gives you a bad haircut, it's a bad haircut. If a nurse messes up, it may kill you," said Barry Cranfill, a member of the state Board of Nursing.[8]

House Bill 454

In 2012, the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 454, which called for the state legislature to give away its responsibility for setting the presidential preference primary date to the Secretary of State. Georgia law previously required the state to hold the presidential preference primary on the first Tuesday in February of a presidential election year, when, according to Kemp, powerhouse states like New York and California also set their dates.

Leaving it up to the Georgia state legislature meant forgoing the opportunity for Georgia to be a battleground state for Presidential primary races. Georgia's legislature adjourns earlier than some other states, resulting in it naming the same date as several other states. Kemp believed that if the Secretary of State assumed the responsibility, he/she would give Georgia a strategic advantage insofar as having the ability to name a date which will falls right before the cutoff, thereby gaining "influence and overriding the importance of other primaries," Kemp said. [9]

“We’re seeing something that hasn’t been the case in Georgia in as long as I can remember, and that’s that the candidates are actually coming and campaigning here and they’re going to try to make a play to win our state.”

Kemp pledged, despite the apparent riskiness of waiting until the last minute to set the date, to act in good faith, and to abide by the Republican National Committee so Georgia would not suffer a loss of delegates.[10]


Voting record accusation

At a Cobb County GOP breakfast in early June 2010, incumbent Secretary of State Kemp accused his Republican primary opponent, Doug MacGinnitie, of having not voted "in a Republican primary for almost 20 years until 2008." [11] [12] Voting records, however, suggested otherwise. Since 1988, MacGinnitie voted a total of twenty-three times in the state; six of these were in Republican primary contests. In response, Kemp's campaign spokesman argued that in almost all of those instances, they were for presidential elections; when it came to state Republican primaries, MacGinnitie was largely absent until 2008. And while MacGinnitie's campaign admitted that their candidate's consistency in voting was far from perfect, critics contended that Kemp has repeatedly failed to distinguish between his opponent's state and national voting records.

Georgia State Senate (2003-2007)

Kemp was elected to the Georgia State Senate representing District 46 (all of Oconee County and parts of Walton and Clarke counties) after narrowly defeating Democratic incumbent Doug Haines in November 2002. [13] During his four-year tenure, he served in a number of capacities, including as chairman of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, vice chairman of the Higher Education Committee, secretary of the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee, and member of the Appropriations Committee. He ran for State Agriculture Commissioner in 2006, but lost in the Republican primary contest. [5]



See also: Georgia Secretary of State election, 2010
  • General
2010 Race for Secretary of State - General Election [14]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Brian Kemp 56.4%
     Democratic Party Georganna Sinkfield 39.4%
     Libertarian Party David Chastain 4.2%
Total Votes 2,552,722
  • Primary
2010 Race for Secretary of State - Republican Primary [15]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Brian Kemp 59.2%
     Republican Party Doug MacGinnitie 40.8%
Total Votes 609,478


2006 Race for Commissioner of Agriculture - Republican Primary Election [5]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Black 42.3%
     Republican Party Brian Kemp 26.8%
     Republican Party Greer 15.9%
     Republican Party Strickland 15.0%
Total Votes 362,812


  • Brian Kemp ran unopposed in this contest
  • General
2002 Race for State Senate, District 46 - General Election [13]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Brian Kemp 50.7%
     Democratic Party Doug Haines 49.3%
Total Votes 34,519

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Kemp is available dating back to 2002. Based on available campaign finance records, Kemp raised a total of $2,416,578 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 8, 2013.[17]

Brian Kemp's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Georgia Secretary of State Not up for election $141,587
2010 Georgia Secretary of State Won $896,518
2006 Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Defeated $872,237
2004 Georgia State Senate District 46 Won $295,412
2002 Georgia State Senate District 46 Won $210,824
Grand Total Raised $2,416,578


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Brian Kemp's donors each year.[18] Click [show] for more information.


Kemp currently resides in Athens, Georgia with his wife, Marty Argo, and their three children - Jarrett, Lucy, and Amy Porter. He is also a practicing member of the Athens Emmanuel Episcopal Church.[7]

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Contact information

Capitol Address:
214 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Telephone: (404) 656-2881
Fax: (404) 656-0513


See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. Athens Banner-Herald "Brian Kemp appointed Georgia secretary of state" 4 Jan. 2010
  2. Red State "Karen Handel Aims to Win the GOP Gubernatorial Nomination in Georgia" December 22, 2009
  3. Georgia Secretary of State - 2010 Primary Election Results
  4. Athens Banner-Herald, "Brian Kemp appointed Georgia secretary of state," January 4, 2010.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Georgia Secretary of State - 2006 Commissioner of Agriculture Republican Primary Results
  6. Georgia Secretary of State, "Bio of Brian Kemp," accessed September 12, 2011.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Kemp Secretary of State, "Kemp Bio", accessed February 21, 2012
  8. 8.0 8.1 Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Changes to licensing proposed for half-million Georgians," February 21, 2012
  9. The Huffington Post, "Secretary of State: Ga. Progressing as Primary Battleground," Febuary 22, 2012
  10. Secretary of State News, "Secretary of State Kemp Announces Georgia’s Presidential Preference Primary Date," September 28, 2011
  11. YouTube "Kemp Sets Record Straight About Doug's Hypocrisy" 9 June, 2010
  12. PolitiFact Georgia "Says his GOP challenger, Doug MacGinnitie, "hadn’t voted in a Republican primary for almost 20 years until 2008" 5 July, 2010
  13. 13.0 13.1 Georgia Secretary of State - 2002 General Election Results
  14. Georgia Secretary of State - 2010 General Election Results
  15. Georgia Secretary of State - 2010 Primary Election Results
  16. Georgia Secretary of State - 2002 Primary Election Results
  17. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Brian Kemp," accessed July 8, 2013
  18. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015

Political offices
Preceded by
Karen Handel (R)
Georgia Secretary of State
Succeeded by