Georgia Democrats hoped to win big on Election Night. They also aimed to elect a woman to a top political post. Instead, the Democrats lost the Governor's race, and in the U.S. Senate race, Michelle Nunn fell to Republican David Perdue. There are still no women in any of Georgia’s Constitutional officers and no women representing Georgia in Congress. GPB's Jeanne Bonner spoke with statehouse Minority Leader, Stacey Abrams, about what the election means for Democrats and female candidates.
“I’m concerned by the absence of women in not only the positions themselves but as candidates. I think we have to do a better job on both sides of the aisle to recruit and actively support candidates who not only reflect our partisanship values but reflect our people values. And having women reflected in the composition of our leadership in the state is critical.”
Abrams, who represents Atlanta in the statehouse, says no one should see Nunn's loss as a sign she isn't a good candidate.
"The goal was to show we are a competitive state,” she said. “Michelle was an extraordinary candidate to lead that charge. What Michelle offered was a new way of thinking about this job, a new way of thinking about our politics as Georgians but this was always going to be a hard road to slog. This is a state that is in the midst of a demographic transition but we have not fully achieved it."
She says it will take time for Democrats to be win statewide again.
"We were hopeful progress would be an event and not a movement. It turns out it's an action so we're going to have to keep working at it,” she told GPB. “But I think Michelle displayed a savvy and a capacity that made the Republicans spend very large amounts of money that they really should not have had to spend in a state that's supposed to be crimson red."
Abrams also says the election results don't necessarily mean Georgia is averse to electing women to statewide offices.
"I think we have to separate out the candidate and the party,” she said. “This year was a Republican wave year. Republicans won. Republicans did not have women in Georgia as their candidates. The winning party did not elect any women. If the party carried the day, the challenge is their mantel was not held up by a single woman, and that should be very challenging to the Republican Party."
While Republicans nominated and elected women to the state legislature, none of their nominees for Constitutional offices or Congress were women.