Credit: Riley Bunch/GPB News
Running unopposed, Abrams urges voters to stake claim in Georgia’s future
Stacey Abrams says she is ready for the likely rematch against Republican incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp in the November general election.
And although voters still have to make the final decision in primaries for crucial statewide offices, many Republicans in the battle have spent a majority of their time targeting Abrams instead of their opponents.
In the parking lot of a Baptist church in Atlanta on Tuesday where election day voters were casting ballots, Abrams said that’s where Republican candidates — like Kemp — have gone wrong.
“I have listened to Republicans for the last six months attack me, but they've done nothing to attack the challenges facing Georgia,” she said. “They've done nothing to articulate their plans for the future of Georgia.”
Kemp and Perdue have argued over who is the best Republican candidate to beat Abrams in November. Both seized the opportunity to blast the Democrat for a comment she made over the weekend.
At a Democratic event, Abrams called Georgia the “worst state in the country to live,” referencing issues like health care access and incarceration rates.
Abrams responded to criticism by saying the comment was “an inelegant delivery of a statement that I will keep making.”
“And that is that Brian Kemp is a failed governor who doesn't care about the people of Georgia,” she said.
Early glimpses of Abrams’ 2022 campaign have mirrored talking points from her run four years ago, such as state leadership's refusal to expand Medicaid and restrictive voting measures passed by the legislature.
As the primary election comes to a close, she said, Tuesday marks the “beginning of the next phase” of her bid to become Georgia’s governor.
The Democrat was propelled to fame for her massive voter engagement efforts launched in the wake of 2018. But the newfound spotlight created new challenges for the Georgia politician who has deep ties to President Joe Biden and the national party.
Abrams said Tuesday she welcomes Biden to boost her bid with a visit to the Peach State during the campaign, although the president's approval ratings remain low.
“What we know is that there are going to be national headwinds; there always are,” Abrams said. “But what we can do here in Georgia is come together and fight together. And I welcome anyone willing to lift Georgia up to come to Georgia and help me get it done.”
In the wake of the 2020 election, the Republican-controlled legislature passed a sweeping new election law that changed much of the voting process — including stringent restrictions on absentee ballots and the use of drop boxes.
But so far in the 2022 primary, voter turnout has soared. By 1 p.m. on Tuesday, more than 860,000 Georgians had cast their vote either during early voting or on election day.
Republicans pointed to the record turnout as a defense against the claims by Democrats and voting rights advocates that the new law would make it harder for Georgians to vote.
Abrams pushed back by saying that “increased turnout has nothing to do with suppression.”
“Suppression is about whether or not you make it difficult for voters to access the ballot,” she said, pointing to obstacles added to the process of casting a vote by mail.