Stacey Abrams, the voting rights icon whose hard work organizing contributed to a blue wave of key and historic Democratic victories last year, has officially launched her campaign to be governor of Georgia and said she will run in the 2022 mid-term elections.
Nearly four years after falling victim to Republicans’ coordinated voter suppression while running for governor in 2018, Abrams announced her candidacy on Wednesday with an allusion to Georgia’s newly restrictive election laws that make it harder to vote for certain people, including and especially Black people.
“I’m running for Governor because opportunity in our state shouldn’t be determined by zip code, background or access to power,” Abrams, who previously served as a Georgia state representative for a decade, wrote in a tweet that was accompanied by a moving video detailing what she has been doing in the pandemic and since she lost the 2018 election to Brian Kemp.
“In the end, we are one Georgia,” Abrams says in the video before adding: “My job is to put my head down and keep working for one Georgia.”
She concluded the video by saying, “Now, it’s time to get the job done.”
Shortly after Abrams’ announcement, liberal political group People For the American Way offered its endorsement of her candidacy.
“Stacey Abrams’ decision to run for Governor of Georgia in 2022 is great news for the people of her state and for America. Stacey has been a leader and a fighter for justice and civil rights throughout the decades I have known her,” People For the American Way President Ben Jealous said in a statement emailed to NewsOne. “She is a person of profound integrity, empathy, courage and intellect who as governor will work tirelessly to ensure all Georgians have access to the opportunity to succeed and to live healthy and fulfilling lives. It is an honor to endorse her for this office, and People For the American Way looks forward to supporting her in any way we can on her path to victory.”
If Abrams wins the Democratic primary, she would have a re-match against Kemp, who as then-Georgia Secretary of State oversaw all elections in the state, is thought to have rigged the election with a series of dirty tactics that disproportionately affected polling places where Black voters were registered.
Kemp’s actions were so egregious that they even prompted a GOP adviser to say Kemp stole the election.
In a since-deleted tweet, Jason Weaver, who was a political strategist for former President George H.W. Bush and a presidential campaign adviser to the late Sen. John McCain, called Kemp a “hack” after he won the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election. He also said Kemp “cheated & undermined democracy every step of the way.”
Abrams’ announcement made her the second Black woman to announce her candidacy for governor.
In late October, New York Attorney general Letitia “Tish” James launched her own campaign.
Their candidacies are historic in that there has never been a Black woman governor in the United States’ history. Even further, if one or both win, they will become the first graduates of historically Black colleges and universities to become governor of a U.S. state.
Kemp has already launched his campaign for re-election and invoked Abrams’ name in his first ad last summer. He blamed “Stacey Abrams and the liberal mob” for MLB’s All-Star game being moved out of Atlanta. But MLB made the move after Georgia Republicans, with Kemp’s help, have successfully enacted what critics have called “racist” election laws that a Department of Justice lawsuit claims place increased restrictions on people casting ballots, “particularly” Black people.
Kemp will have his own primary to deal with after former Democratic State Rep. Vernon Jones, who has since become a Trump-worshiping Republican, announced his candidacy in April. Trump has endorsed Jones over Kemp.
Abrams let her feelings be known after she conceded the 2018 election to Kemp.
“I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election, but to watch an elected official who claims to represent the people in this state baldly pin his hopes for election on suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote has been truly appalling,” Abrams said at the time before adding: “Let’s be clear, this is not a speech of concession because concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true, or proper … I cannot concede that.”
It is in that context that Abrams is all but setting up a rematch against Kemp next year in a traditionally “red” state that has been increasingly voting Democratic in recent years.
Black history on the horizon?
If Abrams wins the 2022 gubernatorial election, she would become the first Black woman governor in U.S. history. In doing so, the proud graduate of Spelman College would also become the first HBCU alum to become governor of a U.S. state. Back in 2018, Abrams had a chance to do both while Andrew Gillum, a graduate of Florida A&M University, also came up short in neighboring Florida.
James, who graduated from the Howard University School of Law, could also accomplish the same feat in New York.
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.