Stacey Abrams, a Georgia politician who embodies what many progressives argue is the future of the Democratic Party, launched what she hopes will be a history-making campaign Saturday when she officially announced her candidacy for governor of the Peach State.
The 43-year-old Democratic leader of the Georgia State House, who enters as the front-runner for her party’s nomination, is aiming to become the first African American woman to be elected governor in U.S. history. Abrams is widely considered to be one of the most skilled and savvy political leaders in the state legislature and hopes to replace term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal (R), who has served since 2011. But it won’t be easy: No Democrat has won statewide office in Georgia since 2006, and just 11 black women have ever been elected to statewide positions nationwide.
“Pray for me and work with me,” Abrams told about 100 supporters who braved persistent swarms of gnats to help her kick off her campaign at a barbecue at Chehaw Park in Albany, a small city about three hours south of Atlanta. “I want government to work everyday, for everyone.”
Abrams, a Yale-trained lawyer and business executive who writes romance novels on the side, has an army of supporters across the country eager to prove Democrats can win if the party puts its energy into expanding its base among the increasingly diverse state population rather than fretting over white swing voters. That is what Abrams has tried to do as founder of an organization that says it has registered 200,000 new voters in Georgia — along with her work in the state’s House, often while cooperating with Republicans on key legislation and policies — has made her popular with progressives who say the party should rebuild and strengthen the coalition that elected and reelected President Barack Obama.
The rapidly changing complexion of the South, which has seen the percentages of African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans increase, creates the potential for a political makeover. Abrams and other progressive political activists of color believe new voters will want candidates who look more like them.
SOURCE: Vanessa Williams
The Washington Post