According to AJC, Stacey Abrams launched a campaign for Georgia governor Wednesday with a pledge to fight for economic equality and expand health care access, setting up a potential rematch against Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in one of the nation’s most competitive political battlegrounds.
Abrams lost to Kemp by less than 1.4 percentage points in 2018, the closest Georgia gubernatorial election in decades, and her refusal to concede defeat because of what she called an “erosion” of voting rights made her an icon to many Democrats and a villain to conservatives.
The Democrat announced her campaign with a video that highlighted her work in the state since her narrow 2018 defeat to Kemp, along with a message that “opportunity and success in Georgia shouldn’t be determined by your ZIP code, background or access to power.”
Her decision, long expected by local Democrats, clears the way for what could be a titanic showdown between two longtime political rivals. That is, if Kemp survives a fight for the GOP nomination first.
She’s running in a tough political environment. Despite statewide victories in the last election cycle, Georgia Democrats will be on the defensive during the 2022 midterms, when U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock is also on the ballot. Abrams’ campaign countered by noting Democratic gains in this year’s mayoral elections, including flips of several Republican-held seats this week.
Kemp might as well have ripped a page from his 2018 playbook with his reaction to her announcement, which repeated a stark warning that Abrams’ “far-left agenda” doesn’t reflect Georgia’s values.
“Next November’s election for governor is a battle for the soul of our state,” he said. “I’m in the fight against Stacey Abrams, the failed Biden agenda and their woke allies to keep Georgia the best place to live, work and raise a family.”
If Abrams prevails, she would become the first Black governor in Georgia and the first Black woman elected governor in U.S. history. She would also end a string of Republican victories in gubernatorial contests dating to Sonny Perdue’s upset win in 2002 over Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes.