Catoosa County resident Debbie Morrison was excited about the arrival of Marty Kemp in Rock Spring Monday evening, Oct. 8 — not because of Kemp’s political celebrity status as the wife of Georgia’s Secretary of State and Republican candidate for governor, but because she was looking forward to praying for Kemp and her children.

“I think it’s so important to hold up the candidates we support and their families in prayer,” says Morrison. “And I was really looking forward to getting to pray for Marty at the gathering.”

Morrison says Kemp was refreshingly genuine. “She was personable and approachable and very appreciative of our prayers.”

Denise Burns, former chair of the Catoosa County Republican Party and currently a representative to the state GOP from the 14th district, says she got a call from Marty Kemp’s team saying they would be in the area on Oct. 8 and wanting to know if they could get together with some local folks.

“They were planning to be in Rome earlier Monday and in Dalton the next day and wanted to do an evening event with us,” says Burns. “I found a place to meet, and Nancy Burton from the Walker County Republican Party and I hosted the event. We invited friends from church and some other people we knew.

“I was impressed with Marty’s normalcy,” says Burns, who had met Kemp once before. “She’s not pretentious or high maintenance. The day before she came here, she was at home near Athens cooking and freezing meals for her family. She had one of her daughters with her, and I was impressed with how remarkably at ease the two were with each other.”

Tess Potts was another Catoosa County resident who attended the gathering. “I’m a registered Republican,” she says, “but that doesn’t mean I always vote Republican. I vote for the person, not the party.”

Potts says in this case, she’s been deeply impressed with Brian Kemp and was equally impressed with his wife. “I’m so glad she’s coming out to rural communities and meeting with small groups. The farming communities of Georgia are important. I’m very comfortable with voting for Brian Kemp, and I felt even more comfortable about it after meeting his wife. We prayed at the meeting that God would surround and protect Marty and her children.”

Burns says fundraising reports just came out for the third quarter for the two candidates running for governor — Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams. “For Brian, 95 percent of his donations were from within the state. For his opponent, over 60 percent of donations were from out of state, the most being from New York and California.”

“Georgia is doing very well right now,” says Burns. “The economy is good and we’d like to see it continue. One person at Monday’s meeting asked how Brian would pay for teacher raises he’s proposed. His plan is to restructure other parts of government so they don’t eat up so much money.

“Brian Kemp became secretary of state during a recession and did a great job on a much smaller budget than his predecessor had to work with,” says Burns. “He has the experience and the track record to keep Georgia growing and strong. His wife believes in him enough to make the great sacrifices required to support him.”

Early voting opens Monday, Oct. 15. Election day is Nov. 6. To learn more about voting precincts and when they’re open, visit catoosa.com/elections or walkercountyelections.com.