Stacey Abrams announced Wednesday she is running for governor of Georgia, delighting Democrats, liberals activists and setting the stage for one of the most high-profile gubernatorial races in the country.
Ms. Abrams, a voting-rights activist and former state lawmaker, said if Georgia is going to “move to its next and greatest chapter, we are going to need leadership.”
“Leadership that knows how to do the job,” the 47-year-old said in her announcement video. “Leadership that doesn’t take credit without also taking responsibility. Leadership that understands the true pain folks are feeling and has real plans.”
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“That is the job of governing: to fight for one Georgia, our Georgia,” she said. “And now it is time to get the job done.”
Heralded as a rising star in the Democratic ranks, Ms. Abrams, barring a surprise, will be running on the same ticket as Sen. Raphael Warnock, 52. Mr. Warnock, who is also Black, will be seeking his first full term in the upper chamber.
Ms. Abrams is seeking to become the nation’s first female Black governor.
Democrats have been eagerly awaiting Ms. Abrams’ next move since she came within 2 points of defeating Republican Brian Kemp in the 2018 election. Her announcement sets up a possible rematch with Gov. Kemp, 58, who is seeking reelection.
Mr. Kemp’s path to reelection is more complicated this time around. He had the support of then-President Trump last time.
Mr. Trump is now gunning for Mr. Kemp, infuriated over the incumbent’s refusal to embrace his claims of a stolen election. Mr. Trump insists he won Georgia, and his most loyal supporters have run with the claim.
Responding to Mr. Abrams’ announcement, Mr. Trump claimed credit for Mr. Kemp’s victory over her in 2018.
“I beat her single-handedly, without much of a candidate, in 2018,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “I’ll beat her again, but it will be hard to do with Brian Kemp, because the MAGA base will just not vote for him after what he did with respect to Election Integrity and two horribly run elections, for President and then two Senate seats.”
“But some good Republican will run, and some good Republican will get my endorsement, and some good Republican will WIN,” he said.
Amid those tensions, former Sen. David Perdue, 71, is weighing a primary challenge to Mr. Kemp.
Democrats are hoping that Republicans’ intraparty friction will boost Ms. Abrams‘ chances for victory.
Maddie Anderson, spokesperson for the Republican Governors Association, welcomed Ms. Abrams to the race by saying she is “once again using Georgia to boost her own star while she plots a path toward her real career goal: president of the United States.
“Over the past four years, Gov. Kemp has exhibited courageous leadership for Georgians and guided his state through a turbulent time,” she said. “Stacey Abrams spent her time touring the country in search of fame and fortune.”
In her announcement video, Ms. Abrams said she has established a record of fighting for families during the coronavirus pandemic by helping to pay off medical debt, expanding access to vaccines, and financing small businesses.
“Our values are still strong no matter where we come from in Georgia or how long we have been here, we believe in this place and our people,” she said. “Folks who deserve to be seen and heard and have a voice because in the end we are one Georgia, regardless of the pandemic or the storms, the obstacles in our way or the forces determined to divide us.”
“My job has been to put my head down and keep working toward one Georgia,” she said.
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