Stacey Abrams becomes first black woman to gain major U.S. party nomination for governor of Georgia

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Friday, May 25, 2018

On Tuesday night, Stacey Abrams became the United States Democratic Party's candidate for governor of the state of Georgia, the first black woman nominated for this office. If she wins the election scheduled to be held in November, she would be the first woman governor of Georgia and the first black woman elected governor of any state in U.S. history.

Abrams in 2012.
Image: Kerri Battles, LBJ School.

"I will be the governor who brings more than jobs to Georgia," Abrams said in her acceptance speech, "together, we can build career pipelines in renewable energy. We can spur creativity through a growing entertainment industry, and we can increase the strength of our trade unions to grow an economy that lifts every Georgian."

In the primary election, 76.5% of participating registered Democrats and eligible independents voted for Abrams over her opponent, Stacey Evans, to a total of 423,163 votes. Evans won 23.5%. Ahead of the primary, Abrams had announced a plan for winning the scheduled November election that focused on mobilizing and motivating liberal voters who would otherwise stay home on election day. Evans, who is from Georgia's rural northwest, sought to win over the contested moderate vote from the Republicans.

Adrianne Shropshire of BlackPAC, a group that supported Abrams, attributed her victory to strategy. "Stacey Abrams won this election because she reached out and engaged communities of color, particularly black voters, on the issues that they care about. This historic victory is a model for candidates all across the country." After the election, Evans immediately announced her support for Abrams.

Abrams is originally from Gulfport, Mississippi, but moved to Atlanta, Georgia, as a youth. She holds three degrees, including a law degree from Yale Law School and has worked as a lawyer and entrepreneur as well as serving in the Georgia state legislature. Her accomplishments include being the first woman to lead a major party in the Georgia General Assembly and being the first black person to head the Georgia House of Representatives.

Abrams stated her plans on her campaign website assuming victory in the November election: "As Georgia's next governor, I will prioritize economic mobility as key to ensuring our state is known as a place for prosperity. Poverty and inequality stand in the way of economic growth for our state through higher social costs, lost earnings, and weakened competitiveness." Specifics included an earned income tax credit, expansion of protections for Georgians with disabilities, and ending workplace discrimination.

The other major party in this election is the Republican Party. The governorship has been held by Republicans since 2003, but previously Georgia has a long history of governors from the Democratic Party.

Abrams' opponent for November has yet to be determined. The current front runners for the Republican nomination for governor are Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, scheduled for a runoff election on July 24.


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