Brian Kemp Biography

(Governor of Georgia)

Birthday: November 2, 1963 (Scorpio)

Born In: Athens, Georgia, United States

Brian Kemp is an American businessman and politician who is serving as the 83rd governor of Georgia since January 2019 after narrowly defeating Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams in the highly controversial 2018 elections. He had been serving as the 27th secretary of state of Georgia since 2010, but refused to resign during his campaign for governor, for which he was accused of abuse of power by Democrats. He was further accused of voter suppression because he put on hold 53,000 voter registration applications, majority being African Americans, weeks before the election. As governor, he reportedly signed a law to keep his family’s history in slave trade a secret. His tenure as secretary of state was equally as controversial because he was the only state official to reject help from the Department of Homeland Security to guard against Russian interference during the 2016 election. He previously served as a member of the Georgia State Senate from 2003 to 2007.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Brian Porter Kemp

Age: 60 Years, 60 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Marty Kemp

father: William L. Kemp II

mother: Ann Cabanis

siblings: Julie Kemp

children: Amy Porter Kemp, Jarrett Kemp, Lucy Kemp

Born Country: United States

Political Leaders American Men

U.S. State: Georgia

More Facts

education: University Of Georgia, Athens Academy

Childhood & Early Life

Brian Porter Kemp was born on November 2, 1963 in Athens, Georgia, United States to William L. Kemp II, who worked in real estate and finance, and Ann Cabanis. He has a sister named Julie Kemp.

His parents divorced when he was 13, following which his mother married Dr. William Harvey Cabaniss, Jr. His biological father passed away in 2006.

Until ninth grade, he attended the private Athens Academy, and then transferred to Clarke Central High School to play football for Billy Henderson, eventually graduating in 1983.

Brian, whose forebears include Revolutionary War Major John Habersham, a member of the board of trustees that established University of Georgia, is a fourth-generation UGA graduate who majored in agriculture.

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Following graduation, Brian Kemp began working as a home builder and developer, but he repeatedly clashed with county commission over zoning regulations, making him interested in politics.

As a Republican candidate, he challenged Democratic incumbent Doug Haines for the state Senate seat and was elected into office in 2002 as part of a GOP landslide in Georgia.

In 2006, he ran for Agriculture Commissioner of Georgia, but came second in the Republican primary and lost the runoff to Gary Black. He considered running for State Senate District 47 when incumbent Ralph Hudgens announced running for Congress in Georgia's 10th congressional district, but had to change plans when Hudgens decided to run for reelection.

He was appointed Georgia Secretary of State by then-Governor Sonny Perdue in early 2010 and won the 2010 election for a full term by defeating Democratic nominee Georganna Sinkfield.

He was reelected for another term in 2014, following which his office illegally disclosed the personal information, including Social Security numbers and dates of birth, of 6.2 million registered Georgia voters in October 2015.

Amid Russian attempts to disrupt the 2016 elections, he denounced the Obama administration's efforts to strengthen election system security, including improving access to federal cybersecurity assistance, calling the efforts an assault on states' rights.

He again received criticism in 2017 when it was revealed that a flaw in the state voting system exposed the personal information of over six million Georgia voters to researchers at Kennesaw State University.

He announced his candidacy for the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election in March 2017 and secured spot in top-two places alongside Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle in the six-way Republican primary.

During the runoff campaign, both candidates portrayed each other in negative light, but Kemp received endorsement from President Donald Trump late in the campaign at the request of Agriculture Secretary Perdue.

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He defeated Cagle in the runoff by securing 69.5% of the vote and faced Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams, the minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, in the 2018 general election.

He refused to resign as secretary of state while campaigning for governor despite calls from former US President Jimmy Carter and others, which stirred controversy and accusations of abuse of power from Democrats.

He campaigned in line with Trump's policies like imposing a state spending cap, opposing Medicaid expansion, repealing the Affordable Care Act, and implementing the nation's "strictest" abortion laws.

He further called for a bill of "religious freedom and restoration", vetoed twice by Governor Nathan Deal, and courted controversy posing with guns pointed at "Jake", the fictitious teenage suitor of one of his daughters.

A September 2018 attack advertisement claimed that Kemp did not pursue sexual assault accusations against Massage Envy therapists during his time overseeing the Georgia Board of Massage Therapy because of donations made to his campaign.

When Republican State Senator Renee Unterman called for an investigation, his campaign spokesperson labeled her "mentally unstable" in apparent reference to Unterman publicly speaking about her history of depression, for which Kemp never apologized.

He won the election with 50.2% vote, narrowly avoiding the threshold for a runoff election, and resigned as secretary of state on November 8, 2018, but Abrams refused to concede, accusing Kemp of voter suppression.

In December 2018, U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, the incoming chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, expressed his intention to call Kemp before Congress to testify about the fairness of his actions.

His win was further shadowed by accusations of voter suppression due to the fact that as secretary of state, he put 53,000 voter registration applications on hold, with 70% being African American, weeks before election.

He had also purged 1.4 million inactive voters from voter rolls during his tenure, but denied engaging in voter suppression, although several critics have called Kemp's gubernatorial victory illegitimate.

Kemp was inaugurated as governor in a public ceremony in Atlanta on January 14, 2019, and for a second term on January 12, 2023, after winning reelection against Abrams in 2022.

Shortly after taking office, in May 2019, he signed into law a highly controversial bill that would prohibit abortions after a heartbeat can be detected in a fetus, usually six weeks into pregnancy.

Family & Personal Life

Brian Kemp married Marty Argo, daughter of longtime Georgia House of Representatives member Bob Argo, on January 8, 1994 and has three daughters with her: Jarrett, Lucy and Amy Porter. His family belongs to Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Athens

Kemp, who had personally guaranteed $10 million in business loans to Hart AgStrong, a Kentucky-based canola crushing company under investigation for fraud, was sued for failure to repay $500,000 in business loans in May 2018. While an attorney for the Georgia Department of Agriculture said these actions "may be a felony under Georgia law”, no charges were filed and he reached a settlement with the plaintiff after becoming governor.

Atlanta television station WAGA-TV reported in October 2018 that Kemp-owned companies owed more than $800,000 in loans to a community bank where he is a founding board member and stockholder. While such "insider loans" are legal depending on the bank’s terms, his campaign refused to publicize the terms of the loan.


Brian Kemp was among the last governors to issue a stay-at-home order during the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020 and later prohibited localities from implementing stricter face mask mandates.

However, following his stepfather’s death, he announced canceling the memorial reception scheduled on March 14, 2020 “to protect the health and safety of our friends and family” amidst coronavirus outbreak.

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