Stacey Abrams kicks off ’22 governor run
Nationally known politician Stacey Abrams ended any speculation Georgians have had over the past several months on her future political plans by announcing that she is running for Governor this week. Abrams released a folksy 3-minute video pledging to fight for economic equality and expand health care access across Georgia. The video highlighted Abram’s work in the state and included a message from Abrams that said, “Opportunity and success in Georgia shouldn’t be determined by your ZIP code, background or access to power.” The video culminated with Abram’s confirmation of her plans to run for Georgia’s top spot in 2022.
With her announcement, Abrams is setting up a much-anticipated rematch with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. In 2018, Abrams lost the governor’s race to Kemp by less than 1.4 percentage points. This was considered to be the closest Georgia gubernatorial election in decades. Abrams’ decision clears the way for what could be a titanic showdown between two longtime political rivals. Georgia, which is one of the nation’s most competitive political battlegrounds for 2022, will have the eyes of the nation on it as the political season begins.
Kemp, who announced his intentions to seek reelection months ago, must first win the Republican primary to take Abrams on. His path for re-election is not as clear as Kemp would like it to be. Supporters of former U. S. Senator David Perdue have been dropping breadcrumbs on his possible run against Kemp during the GOP primary. Perdue’s friendship with Former President Donald Trump is widely known and seems to be in play. As Trump has been actively trying to recruit someone to run against Kemp, some political watchers say Trump may be behind Perdue’s possible entry into the race.
Trump soured on Kemp after the November 2020 presidential elections after Kemp refused Trump’s overtures to overturn the 2020 election results, declaring Joe Biden the winner of the presidential race in Georgia. Since losing his reelection, Trump vowed to exact revenge on Kemp and has been taking shots at him at every turn. The former president even seemed to be throwing his support behind Abrams at one point. While speaking at a GOP state meeting last summer, Trump said he would have preferred if Abrams had defeated Kemp. Also in the race is former Democrat lawmaker turned Republican candidate Vernon Jones, who has also been courting Trump for his support.
If Abrams prevails, she will 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 the state’s gubernatorial contests dating to Sonny Perdue’s upset win in 2002 over Roy Barnes.
After losing the governor’s race in 2018, Abrams refused to concede defeat because of what she called an “erosion” of voting rights by the right. Over the years, Abrams has remained involved in state politics as she beats the drum against Kemp for his approach to combating the coronavirus pandemic, his support for an overhaul of the state’s voting laws, and his refusal to expand Medicaid. Her campaign video emphasized Abrams’s Georgia focus. “Regardless of the pandemic or the storms, the obstacles in our way or the forces determined to divide us, my job has been to just put my head down and keep working toward one Georgia,” said Abrams. “Because in the end, we are one Georgia.”
Abrams has not been idle over these few years. She gave the response to then-President Donald Trump’s State of the Union; she was considered to become Joe Biden’s running mate; and she started a constellation of influential advocacy groups. Abrams also grew her media platform with lucrative book and movie projects and conducted a national tour.
With her 2022 campaign, Abrams is hoping to harness the Democratic surge engineered. She will be counting on the Democratic Party to stand behind her candidacy and that no credible Democratic contender will enter the race against her.
Longtime Abrams aide, Lauren Groh-Wargo, will lead the campaign. Abrams and her teams’ immediate plans are to meet with Georgians and raise campaign funds, while Georgia voters watch the ongoing feuding among Republicans in the state.