COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – The race for Georgia's new governor starting months before the 2018 election.
Next year, voters will have to pick from a brand-new group of candidates, both Republican and Democrats.
"You have candidates that like to talk the talk, but once they get elected, they have a hard time walking the walk. Being identified as the most conservative means I can talk the talk and also walk the walk," said State Senator Michael Williams, 2018 Georgia Gubernatorial candidate.
"I'm running for governor because I want to put Georgians, not special interests, the status quo, not the PC police or anybody else first; put Georgians first," said Georgia Secretary of State and 2018 Georgia Gubernatorial candidate.
With current Georgia Governor Nathan Deal's second and final term coming to a close in 2018, the race for governor is already heating up well before voters head to the polls.
Among a growing field of candidates representing Deal's party, the GOP, are Michael Williams, the current state senator representing Forsyth County and current secretary of state Brian Kemp.
"I'm a CPA by trade, a small business owner. I owned 18 Sport Clips retail locations. Family guy, a small business guy just fed up with government interfering with our lives and ready to make changes," said Williams.
"Every single day that I've ever served in elected office, I've been that same small business owner fighting those battles that working Georgians are fighting every day," said Kemp.
And both candidates are vying for their party's backing, from the state level, all the way to the White House.
"I was the first elected official, back in 2015, to come out and publicly endorse President Trump, and I've been by his side ever since. He's a man of the people that are trying to what he feels like is right and best for this country. We need more people willing to stand up, defend and protect our president," said Williams.
"We've got plenty of endorsements from coroners, all the way up to members of the state legislature. If a member of Congress or the President wanted to endorse my campaign, we absolutely would embrace that," said Kemp.
Both Williams and Kemp will have to face more Republican candidates for governor, including current Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and State Senator Hunter Hill.