ATLANTA - It is a race traditionally considered a slam dunk for Republicans in Georgia, but this time around is rated a toss-up, placing the duel for Georgia’s next governor into the national spotlight.
Democrat Stacey Abrams is giving Republican Brian Kemp a run for his money with numerous polls showing the candidates within two points of each other.
The last Democratic governor in the Peach State was Roy Barnes elected in 1998, so many analysts suggest this race is an indicator of the changing political landscape in the state.
The race for Georgia Governor is a tale of two anti-establishment candidates, riddled with controversy. The once solidly red state is now considered to be in play.
On the right, Georgia's top elections official, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, captured President Trump's attention and endorsement in the primaries with his provocative campaign ads.
"I feel like we need a governor that's going to put Georgians first ahead of the special interest and the politically correct," said Kemp.
Kemp faces numerous lawsuits, both personal and in his official capacity. Most recently, people taking issue with the state's exact match law resulting in more than 53,000 voter registration applications listed as “pending” according to court documents.
"While my opponent out there is trying to suppress the vote…" said Abrams.
This is of particular concern to Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams who believes the key to flipping Georgia blue is appealing to new voters, the very ones she says are being disenfranchised.
"He is making it harder for Georgians to cast their ballots unnecessarily because he is tilting the playing field in his direction, that's wrong for Georgia and that's wrong for America," said Abrams.
Like many Democrats across the country, Abrams is putting health care at the on the top of her agenda. Kemp calls her plan to expand Medicaid, radical.
"That is the idea of people like Bernie Sanders, I mean literally that's what the socialists want," said Kemp.
A recent poll puts the candidates within two points though Kemp is consistently polling ahead of Abrams.
"If the party can build on her voter registration efforts, I think they can continue to move the state towards that purple column," said Robert Howard, Georgia State Political Science Professor.
Political analysts, including Howard, add if Abrams does inch out Kemp in November, it will cause a political earthquake. But regardless of the outcome on election night, Abrams has already made history as the nation's first black female major-party nominee for governor.