With voting rights legislation nearly doomed, Stacey Abrams calls for its passage
Stacey Abrams is back in campaign mode.
The Democratic candidate for Georgia governor had her first in-person campaign event in Atlanta where she earned a major endorsement from the Georgia AFL-CIO and its affiliated labor unions.
But the stop was just the first of a marathon campaign across the state over the next 10 months before Georgians will take to the polls to vote on a new governor.
“I'm running for governor because I like Georgia,” she said. "I like all Georgians, whether they agree with me or not."
Running unopposed on the Democratic ticket, Abrams will likely face either incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp or former U.S. Sen. David Perdue after they battle it out during a bitter Republican primary.
Since her failed gubernatorial bid in 2018, Abrams has become a national political figure and climbed the ranks of the Democratic Party — she was even rumored as a finalist in President Joe Biden’s search for vice president.
She hopes to become the first African American woman ever elected as governor in U.S. history.
Her high-profile political power centers around her massive voting rights advocacy efforts. After her run in 2018, she launched Fair Fight Action, a nonprofit dedicated to the issue.
But the key piece of her platform is in limbo as congressional Democrats struggle to get federal voting rights legislation across the finish line.
The U.S. Senate is expected to take up voting rights legislation Wednesday evening, but those efforts appear doomed because Democrats do not appear to have the votes for passage.
On Wednesday, Abrams said she believed Democrats in Washington — including Georgia’s two new U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock — will deliver.
“This is a very important issue; it is a critical issue and, as President Biden said when he was here, this is a generational issue,” she said. “But we also have to remember that civil rights and voting rights took a long time … we are going to fight to make it happen and we believe that it can happen. And I'm proud of the work that's going to happen on Capitol Hill today.”
Following the 2020 election, Georgia Republican lawmakers passed a sweeping new voting law which critics called a blatant attempt to keep voters away from the polls. Biden frequently cites Georgia’s new law and others enacted by GOP-controlled legislatures across the country as evidence for the urgent need for federal voting protections.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Atlanta this month to up the pressure on Democrats in Congress who haven’t gotten on board with the legislation. But their visit was met with pushback from voting rights groups that say they haven’t lived up to campaign promises.
Abrams was a prominent figure missing from the president’s visit. The voting rights activist cited a scheduling conflict as the reason she did not attend their remarks.
Abrams denied any allegations that there were tensions between the two.
“I am a proud Democrat and President Joe Biden is my president,” she said. “I am proud to work with him on not only the issues facing us on voting rights, but I'm proud of the resources he has sent to Georgia. Joe Biden, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are working hard for the state of Georgia, and I will stand with anyone willing to invest in Georgia and Georgia's future.”
Abram lost to Kemp in 2018 by a margin of a little more than 54,000 votes. The number seemed narrow at the time, but in 2020 Biden beat out former President Donald Trump by less than 12,000 votes.
Both Ossoff and Warnock, too, narrowly beat out their Republican opponents.
The numbers have sparked enthusiasm from Democrats who see additional statewide wins in the future.
During her stop, Abrams slammed Kemp for his leadership during the pandemic and blasted his renewed efforts to loosen gun laws.
“Unfortunately, the Georgia we live in today is led by a failed governor — someone who believes in inaction, someone who likes to take credit, but no responsibility,” Abrams said. “Well, I don't want to live in a state of inaction. I want to live in a state of opportunity.”
Copyright 2022 Georgia Public Broadcasting