ATLANTA — Democrat Stacey Abrams ventured onto the campaign trail Wednesday for the first time since announcing her gubernatorial campaign.
Although Abrams skipped an event in Atlanta last week with President Biden, she cleared her schedule to show up at a Union Hall with some of Georgia’s most trusted Democratic supporters.
Eight union representatives had lined up to endorse Abrams, who was one-and-a-half percentage points from beating Brian Kemp in 2018. Abrams had previously served as the House Democratic leader while holding a seat in the General Assembly. She gave up the seat to run for governor in 2018.
Abrams expects to spend much of this campaign year watching the infighting of his two Republican opponents, Gov. Brian Kemp and former U.S. Senator David Perdue. Much of their rhetoric invokes Abrams.
“I’m running for governor to make sure Stacey Abrams will never be governor of Georgia,” Perdue said in the opening seconds of his introductory video, released when he announced his lead campaign against Kemp.
Many Republicans fear the primary will weaken anyone who emerges to face Abrams this fall.
“Your zip code shouldn’t determine whether you survive this pandemic,” Abrams told the crowd, speaking about Medicaid expansion, education, criminal justice reform and his opposition to the proposal. de Kemp and Perdue to eliminate the license to conceal-carry firearms.
Kemp’s campaign retaliated with a statement denouncing unions supporting Abrams as “extreme left-wing radical groups.”
“Abrams’ early start to the campaign makes sense,” said Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University. “They shouldn’t wait until July to do that. They might as well take advantage of the time and start laying the groundwork for the statewide campaign now.”
Abrams said she looks forward to spending much of the next 10 months talking to Georgia voters.
“I’m thrilled to have this early approval. It means we can get to work early, that while they’re fighting, we can come together and fight for Georgia,” Abrams said.
Although election campaigns seem to be starting sooner than ever, Abrams will have the luxury of working mostly behind the scenes – raising funds, refining his message, as Kemp and Perdue face off this spring.