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Georgia gubernatorial candidates sharply divided on key issues as midterms approach

Millions vote early in high-stakes Georgia races
Millions vote early in high-stakes Georgia races 02:19

While the races for control of the House and Senate are getting most of the headlines, Americans are paying close attention to several key gubernatorial races. In Georgia, it's a high stakes rematch of the 2018 election between Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams.

CBS News joined both candidates on their campaign buses as they traversed the Peach State, where voter turnout surpassed the the 2 million mark Thursday. With five days to go until Election Day, the economy, health care and crime are all taking center stage. 

"She said she would defund the police," Kemp said of Abrams.

Abrams argued that Kemp has "lied repeatedly." 

"We want law enforcement, but we also want accountability," she said. 

In regards to Georgia's newest voting law, S.B. 202, which Abrams has heavily criticized, she told CBS News that "turnout does not disprove suppression, it actually defeats suppression."

Kemp said the record early voting numbers tell a different story. 

"Stacey Abrams have been saying how bad our state is when it comes to election laws," he said. "And the numbers just don't prove that."

Abortion is another flashpoint in the race. A recent CBS News Battleground Tracker poll found that 82% of Democrats say the issue is very important in their vote. In a recent debate, the governor sidestepped whether he would consider additional legislation after enacting a so-called "fetal heartbeat" law.

"It is not my intention to move the abortion debate any further in Georgia," Kemp said. When asked if that meant he would not pursue any further restrictions to the procedure, he told CBS News, "I've been very clear about that issue. My focus is on the future."

But Abrams said she does not believe him.

"I believe Brian Kemp intends to expand his prohibition on abortion," Abrams said. "I believe he intends to ban access to certain forms of contraception because he said so."

The Senate race has also been contentious, with Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker in a statistical tie, according to recent polls.

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