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On the trail: Dawson native talks working on Kemp campaign
Cody Hall is press secretary for governor elect
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Dawson County native Cody Hall serves as press secretary for Governor Elect Brian Kemp. - photo by Allie Dean
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Governor Elect Brian Kemp poses with Cody Hall and his wife, Taylor, and daughter, Vera. - photo by For the Dawson County News

Cody Hall comes from several generations of Dawson County residents.  A star soccer player, chamber singer and honor student, he graduated from Dawson County High School in 2012 as class president with political aspirations and a wide world ahead. 

He’s currently helping Governor Elect Brian Kemp transition into the highest office in the state- the governor’s office at the capitol- as part of his duties as press secretary for Kemp’s campaign.

Hall calls the position a “dream job.” And for the founder of the Dawson County Teenage Republicans club in high school, it’s a job he’s well prepared for.

Hall, 24, attended the University of Georgia, where he was an active member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and graduated a semester early with a political science degree. 

His real job training came in the form of internships with former Congressman Paul Broun in 2013, Congressman Jody Hice in 2014 and Georgia State Rep. David Ralston in the spring of 2015, as well as gigs at consulting firms.

He worked for Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black for a while (someone he calls a great friend and mentor) then transitioned to the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, where he worked for seven months before embarking on what he called a “crazy risk,” working on Hunter Hill’s campaign for Governor through May of 2018.

“I was thinking ‘what now,’ and I was working at the Secretary of State’s office for about a month when Kemp won the runoff and I came on board as his press secretary,” Hall said.

Working under a communications director, press relations is about 80 percent of what he does day-to-day. 

That includes forming relationships with the press, fielding questions, pitching stories, writing press releases and prepping Kemp for media appearances.

“There’s never a normal day. You usually find out between the hours of 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. if you’re going to have a good day,” Hall said. “You have to be willing to adapt and keep cool and have realistic expectations when you’re talking to the media…when I’m pitching them a story and an angle I have to know that what I’m asking is realistic.”

Nearly daily throughout the campaign, Hall’s emails have filled inboxes notifying press of the latest developments. 

Since the election Nov. 6, the press releases have declared Kemp the winner with 50.3 percent of the vote, rebuked Stacey Abrams’ refusal to concede and referenced Kemp’s future as the governor of Georgia despite lack of a certified winner.

 “We’re confident in the math so we’ve moved forward with the transition from the current staff to the new staff and there is a $26 billion budget to get ready for January. That’s going according to plan,” he said. “What’s changed is the media narrative nationally and in some local media- people want to talk about the election. We’re focused on the transition and what’s next and that’s tough when the media narrative is contrary.”

Hall said the worst part of the job is always election night.

“I’m a nervous pacer, so I wore out a spot on the carpet,” he said. “It’s the worst because there is nothing you can do. You have to get right with God that you did everything you could- it’s the best reminder that we serve a higher power, you can work your tail off but ultimately it’s His plan if you succeed. I choose to believe it’s not by chance.”

Hall said he’s proud of the professionalism demonstrated in the campaign.

“We ran a disciplined campaign, not committing a lot of unforced errors- like in football, the fewer errors you make the more likely you are to win,” Hall said.

His support of the man is just as unwavering as his support of the campaign.

“I’ve always been impressed with (Kemp) because he is honest. He’s loyal to a fault and has shown kindness to me and others when we probably didn’t deserve it,” Hall said. “He’s very consistent- one of the ads we did with his wife Marty she said he was ‘steady as a rock.’ He’s a straight ahead kind of guy, always respects your opinion and leads by example. He works harder than anyone I’ve ever met.”

Hall said he is happy to hold the position he has on Kemp’s team, though he acknowledges it can be hard to make a living working on campaigns.

“It’s been an incredible opportunity and a dream job for me. Every day is different and I’m always moving,” he said.  “My wife has been great and supportive and I couldn’t have done it without that support.”

And he’s not too worried about where the future will take him.

“When I was in college I thought I had to have a plan, I’m going to do this then this then this, but I can’t predict what God has in store for me and my family so I’ve stopped trying,” Hall said. “I’m focused on being a good dad and husband and being ready for whatever comes. If you try to follow your plan, not God’s, you start missing what His plan is for you.”

Hall married Taylor in May 2017 and they have a 2-month-old daughter, Vera. They reside in Dawsonville. 

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Hall’s now 2-month-old daughter Vera reps Kemp for Governor with a onesie and a big smile. - photo by For the Dawson County News