Georgia Democrat and prominent voting rights activist Stacey Abrams has announced that she will launch another campaign to become the nation’s first black female governor.
In a video announcing his candidacy, Abrams said “opportunity and success in Georgia should not be determined by background or access to power”.
Without serious competition in the Democratic primary, the announcement could set off a rematch between Abrams and the incumbent Republican governor, Brian Kemp. His 2018 contest was one of the most narrowly decided races for governor that year and was dominated by allegations of voter suppression.
Yet Abrams’ strong performance convinced National Democrats that Georgia should no longer be written off as a GOP stronghold. Her performance and subsequent organization convinced Joe Biden to invest heavily in the state in 2020, and he became the first Democratic presidential candidate to hold it since 1992. The party later won a narrow Senate majority after winning two special elections in the state.
The 2022 gubernatorial race will test whether those gains were a one-time event driven by discomfort with Donald Trump or the beginning of a more consequential political change in the fast-growing and diverse South.
Abrams, 47, ran in 2018 as an unattainable progressive, embracing the expansion of Medicaid access, something a series of Republican governors refused to do, and supporting abortion rights.
Admitting Kemp as the winner, Abrams was defiant in the face of the 2018 defeat, but refused to acknowledge the race, citing “gross mismanagement” in his role as secretary of state overseeing the election. done. She accused Kemp of using her office to aggressively purge the rolls of inactive voters, enforcing an “exact match” policy of checking voters’ identities that left thousands of registrations in limbo and results. Other measures were taken to tilt it in his favor. Kemp has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
After the election, Abrams started Fair Fight, an organization group that has raised more than $100m and created a statewide political campaign that has registered hundreds of thousands of new voters in Georgia. The state saw record-breaking turnout in the 2020 presidential race and the January Senate runoff elections.
Now, Abrams and Kemp think they may face a rematch in a new political climate. For one, Kemp faces opposition from Trump and his most loyal GOP supporters for not supporting the former president’s baseless argument that he was duped into re-election through massive voter fraud, including in Georgia. Was. Election officials counted votes in the state three times, each confirming Biden’s victory.
Kemp’s disapproval of problems with Georgia’s election results didn’t stop him from moving through restrictive changes to voting laws in response to Trump’s 2020 national defeat. Many Democrats are concerned that Georgia’s new law, which gives the GOP-controlled legislature more control over election officials, will reverse Abrams’ years of fighting voter suppression. Meanwhile, Democrats hope the new voting law will bolster supporters and make them more determined to go to the polls.
Since 2018, Abrams was named in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. He wrote two books, including a legal thriller, and organized a 12-city speaking tour. He considered a race for president in 2020 before ultimately deciding against it. When Biden became the nominee, he openly lobbied for her to become his running mate, a position that eventually went to Kamala Harris.