‘Quitman’s 10+2′ rally against Gov. Brian Kemp’s campaign stop in Georgia’s Camellia City
QUITMAN, Ga. (WALB) - Governor Brian Kemp came to Quitman on Wednesday to hold a fundraiser for his reelection campaign. However, he was met with a group of protestors he was familiar with when he was secretary of state. A group that was victorious against him in court after being charged with voter fraud.
The group known as “Quitman’s 10+2″ came together and rallied against Governor Brian Kemp’s fundraising stop in Brooks County. They say they don’t want people to forget what happened in 2010 -- back when Kemp was secretary of state.
They rallied for Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, Stacey Abrams, and against Gov. Brian Kemp. They say there is a dark history between them and Gov. Kemp.
In 2010, three Black women, including Dr. Thomas, were elected to the Brooks County School Board. An investigation for a large number of absentee ballots started. Gov. Kemp was the secretary of state at the time. Dr. Thomas and others were indicted for voter fraud. They were found not guilty and the charges were dismissed. Those that were indicted later became known as “Quitman’s 10+2.”
“It wasn’t about what kind of board member I was going to be, they just didn’t want me on there. They didn’t want the makeup of that board to change,” Dr. Diane Thomas said.
When asked for a comment on Wednesday’s protests, Gov. Brian Kemp’s team responded by saying, “Stacey Abrams and her desperate campaign have already lost in court on their false claims of voter suppression, but that won’t stop them continuing to lie and fear monger to try and earn votes. Thankfully Georgia voters are seeing through this garbage and rejecting Stacey Abrams’ radical agenda for our state.”
“One man and 11 women. One is deceased y’all because of this voter suppression that Brian Kemp could have stopped,” Dr. Thomas said.
“You are saying in fact, I don’t have a heart. I don’t have to have a heart or a conscious. I can do what I feel like doing. Because I am an elected official,” retired Brooks County teacher and protester, Gladys Lee said.
The group expressed how all the long trials and incarcerations took a toll on their lives. Some more than others.
“She contemplated killing herself because I wanted to be on the board of education. All Brian Kemp had to do was tell the people we had done nothing. He did not have the guts to tell the people we did nothing. Just do the right thing. That’s all. You didn’t have to lie,” Dr. Thomas said.
Stacey Abrams made a tweet surrounding Tuesday’s events saying, “When somebody shows you who they are, you believe them. Georgia remembers who Brian Kemp is. He used his power to investigate, incarcerate, and intimidate Black people for voting. Because folks complained about Black absentee voters. The years may change, but he doesn’t. Believe him.”
“My mug shot on the web to let people know we just arrested your so-called best of the best of Quitman, Ga. How dare he come to Brooks County and do a fundraiser,” Dr. Thomas said.
Some people here in Quitman say they’re shocked Gov. Kemp had a campaign event after everything that happened. They also said Gov. Kemp used his power to run over the people then. And they’re saying he’ll do it again.
The group says if Kemp comes to Quitman — he needs to address how he accused and indicted them for voting crimes with no evidence.
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