Stacey Abrams Could Become Nation's First Black Female Governor

Gwen Vasquez
May 25, 2018

Democrats in Georgia have selected the first black woman to be a major party nominee for governor in the United States, choosing Ms Stacey Abrams, a liberal former state House leader, who will test just how much the state's traditionally conservative politics is shifting. Abrams still faces a tough general election, but if she wins in November she'd be the first African-American female governor in US history. She is instead hoping to appeal to young voters and nonwhites who have been less likely to participate in elections. McGrathdrew national attention previous year when she released an ad that quickly went viral showing the Iraq and Afghanistan veteran talking about when she was younger and politicians told her that she shouldn't be a fighter pilot - but went on to become one anyway. Though pundits have tried to impose an establishment versus insurgents narrative on most of the 2018 Democratic primaries, what has largely occurred is that progressives have won the battle to redefine what an "establishment candidate" actually is.

DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján called McGrath "battle-tested in more ways than one" in a statement and argued that the primary had only made her stronger.

Analysts predict Democrats have a strong shot at regaining control of the US House, although the Cook Political Report says Republicans have seen a recent uptick in their overall chances of maintaining their majority. Gantt lost twice to racially saturated Helms campaigns in the 1990s. Doug Jones' victory against Roy Moore in December.

"We are writing the next chapter of Georgia's future, where no one is unseen, no one is unheard and no one is uninspired", Abrams said in her victory speech late Tuesday after defeating fellow Democrat and former legislative colleague Stacey Evans.

In the governor's race, Democrats tapped former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez to take on Republican incumbent Greg Abbott in November.

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The Democratic Governors Association has Georgia on its list of potential pickup opportunities, meaning it is open to devoting resources to winning this race even in an election cycle where it could pick up a number of other Republican-held governor's mansions in less-red states like Maryland and IL. African-American women have emerged as a solid bloc of reliable voters for the Democratic candidates they favor. As the parties have continued to polarize, that path has become less viable than ever.

White women are more unpredictable. Some may still try the old formula: in MS, former congressman and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy, a darling of Clintonian New Democrats, is given some chance to win a special U.S. Senate election with the GOP split between appointed senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and conservative firebrand Chris McDaniel, though there will be a post-November low-turnout runoff that will likely pit Espy against just one Republican. "It's very clear that people are looking for more women". Annie Weinberg, electoral director with the grass roots group Democracy For America, worked with the Abrams campaign and said they are planning to target voters of color in a way past Democratic campaigns have not. In a Democratic electorate that is now over 60 percent African-American, it's not surprising that Abrams won.

Abrams campaign platform was remarkably similar, but she also emphasized the need for LGBTQ rights, energy jobs, veterans' rights and small business development. A state where progress is more than possible.

Abrams has received major endorsement from heavyweights in the Democratic Party. The election was demonstrative of general US contention regarding the newly Republican-run nation. As it happens, Scott faced poorly financed African-American Democrats both times; the state is so heavily Republican that competitive Democratic statewide campaigns are rare.

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