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Hunter Hill endorses Brian Kemp in GOP runoff for governor
Former rival Clay Tippins expected to back Kemp on Wednesday
05152018 RHETORIC
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp will face off in a July 24 runoff in the Republican governor primary.

Hunter Hill has endorsed Brian Kemp for the Republican gubernatorial nomination against Casey Cagle.

The endorsement from the former state senator from Atlanta fulfills more than a month of speculation after secret recordings from Clay Tippins surfaced revealing that Casey Cagle pushed a “bad” bill in an attempt to sink Hill’s chances.

Hill had held off endorsing anyone in the race until Tuesday, July 17, when he announced his support for Secretary of State Kemp.

“Making the decision to engage in this runoff has been just as difficult as deciding to run in the first place. In many ways, even more difficult,” Hill said in an announcement released by Kemp’s campaign on Tuesday. “I have friends on both sides of this race, but I’ve decided that what we’ve built — the issues on which we ran — needed a champion. They needed a leader of character who would fight for what was right — even when no one was looking.”

The endorsement comes after Cagle was endorsed by Gov. Nathan Deal and held a rally with incoming president of the National Rifle Association Oliver North in Gainesville on Saturday.

Kemp now has the endorsement of Hill and state Sen. Michael Williams, R-Cumming. Together, Hill and Williams took more than 23 percent of the May 22 primary vote. Cagle took 39 percent of the primary vote, while Kemp took 25.6 percent.

A news release from the Kemp campaign sent Wednesday, July 18, said Tippins is expected to provide his endorsement of the secretary of state at at event later in the day in Atlanta. Tippins took 12.2 percent of the vote on primary night.

However, Deal’s endorsement is likely to loom large among the Republican electorate. According to a poll released by the Cagle campaign, more than 75 percent of likely Republican runoff voters support Deal’s performance in office.