Brian Porter Kemp (born November 2, 1963) is an American businessman and politician serving as the 83rd governor of the State of Georgia since January 2019. A Republican, he previously was the 27th Secretary of State of Georgia from 2010 to 2018 and a member of the Georgia State Senate from 2003 until 2007.
Born in Athens, Georgia, Kemp is a graduate of the University of Georgia. Prior to entering politics, Kemp owned several agribusinesses, financial services, and real estate companies. In 2002, he was elected to the Georgia State Senate. In 2010, Kemp was appointed Secretary of State of Georgia by Governor Sonny Perdue following the resignation of Karen Handel to run for the governorship. Kemp was subsequently elected to a full term as Georgia Secretary of State in 2010; he was reelected in 2014.
In 2015, Kemp's office erroneously distributed the Social Security numbers and dates of birth of registered Georgia voters. During the 2016 election, Kemp was the only state official to reject help from the Department of Homeland Security to guard against Russian interference. Kemp also encountered criticism from voting rights advocates; from 2012 to 2018, Kemp's office cancelled more than 1.4 million voter registrations, and during the 2018 election, Kemp held up more than 53,000 voter registration applications, with nearly 70% of the voter registrations belonging to African Americans. In 2018, Kemp was a candidate for governor where he faced Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams. Kemp refused to resign as secretary of state while campaigning for governor, which stirred controversy and accusations of abuse of power. Following the general election on November 6, Kemp was declared the winner with 50.2% of the vote. Abrams suspended her campaign on November 16 while maintaining that she believed he engaged in voter suppression.As governor, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kemp forbade cities and counties from implementing face mask mandates in spite of public health guidance that supported such mandates.After the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, Kemp faced criticism from President Donald Trump for following the state law which required him to certify the results, in spite of Trump's repeated false claims of fraud in the election. In 2021, he signed into law the Election Integrity Act of 2021, legislation that limited voting rights, including allowing the state government to replace local elections boards, limits on absentee voting, reductions in the number of drop boxes for ballots, and prohibitions on anyone other than election workers giving food or water to individuals standing in lines outside of polling places.
He is currently being challenged in the Republican primary of the 2022 Georgia gubernatorial election by former Georgia State Representative Vernon Jones.