Stacey Abrams, who drew a national following during her 2018 campaign to become Georgia’s governor, will deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union next Tuesday, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday.
The charismatic Abrams came up short in her bid to become the first black woman governor in the nation, losing to Republican Brian Kemp in a nationally watched race tinged with issues of race and voting rights. Although she lost to Kemp, Abrams came within 2 percentage points of winning in a strongly Republican state in the Deep South.
The party not occupying the White House – the Democrats, this year – are provided a platform to respond to the president’s speech. Party leaders typically ask a rising star to deliver a rebuttal on a nationally televised platform.
Schumer said he had asked Abrams three weeks ago to consider delivering the response and she accepted.
“She is just a great spokesperson. She is an incredible leader. She has led the charge for voting rights, which is at the root of just about everything else,” Schumer told reporters at the Capitol Tuesday.
By picking Abrams, Democratic leaders are steering clear from any announced or potential 2020 presidential candidates whose choice might have been seen as playing favorites.
Georgia’s former House minority leader, Abrams attracted national attention, endorsements and money this year with a progressive campaign that energized new voters in the deep red state.
Abrams said in a statement that the country “needs to hear from leaders who can unite for a common purpose” and that she planned “to deliver a vision for prosperity and equality, where everyone in our nation has a voice and where each of those voices is heard.”
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SOURCE: USA Today, Ledyard King and Eliza Collins