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Gov. Kemp supports ballot hand-count during first public appearance since quarantining

'I think that’ll settle a lot of people’s minds to know that’s going to happen,' Kemp said. 'I’m looking forward to that process.'

COVINGTON, Ga. — On the same day the opening of The Masters Tournament in Augusta was delayed due to rain, Gov. Brian Kemp visited Bridgestone Golf in Newton County.

It marked the governor's first public appearance since quarantining following exposure his exposure to U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson (R- 3rd Dist., GA), who tested positive for COVID-19 in October.

Gov. Kemp spoke on a variety of topics, including the tightly-contested presidential race in Georgia

The governor, who is also Georgia's former secretary of state, supported his successor, Brad Raffensperger, in holding a statewide audit of the presidential race. The audit includes a statewide hand-count of ballots in the presidential race.

RELATED: Why does Georgia need to do a hand recount?

"Secretary Raffensperger has made it real clear about the process we have before us with the hand recount," Kemp said. "I think that’ll settle a lot of people’s minds to know that’s going to happen. I’m looking forward to that process. So I think we all, as Georgia citizens, no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, should embrace that. Let’s let that happen and let the chips fall where they may. People just want to make sure we have integrity in our elections and I think the steps the Secretary has taken, is going to do that.”

Credit: WXIA-TV

Kemp said he had concerns about fraud in every election, but he told media he trusted investigators to look into the claims. 

Raffensperger has been under fire from the Trump campaign and has received calls to resign by Georgia's two U.S. senators over his handling of the election. 

The governor was asked if he thought Raffensperger should resign, but Kemp said the point was moot now since the secretary of state said he would not resign. 

The governor said he did not think the audit would set a precedent for losing candidates to challenge election results if they were not in their favor.

The governor began the day by announcing that Georgia had earned the number one ranking for business climate, according to Gwinnett County-based Site Selection magazine. This is the eighth year in a row the Peach State has won the award. 

The magazine's ranking is based on a survey, factoring in workforce skill and development, transportation infrastructure, local taxes, and the ease of permitting and regulations.

"We have made strategic investments in our logistics infrastructure, a business-friendly climate, and a focus on workforce development that has served as a model for the rest of the country," Kemp said. 

The governor said the pandemic did not impact Georgia as much as other states. He said Georgia was able to add nearly 12,000 new jobs and invest over $4 billion in business. However, the pandemic has accounted for billions in losses for businesses and has caused thousands of Georgians to lose their jobs.

RELATED: Atlanta faces $10 billion loss amid coronavirus pandemic, reports show

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Georgia's unemployment rate was 6.4% in September, almost half of what it was in April. The bureau stated the national unemployment rate was 7.9% in September.

The governor said during the 2020 legislative session, the budget was not slashed statewide across the board. He said he expected the same to hold true in 2021, with a priority on improving healthcare, education, and public safety.