Georgia 2018: Abrams files paperwork to run for governor

George House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams speaks during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Monday, July 25, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams filed paperwork Tuesday to run for governor, marking the first step toward an expected bid for the state’s highest office.

Abrams would become the highest-profile Democrat in the race to succeed Gov. Nathan Deal and her campaign would seek to capitalize on the same angst over Donald Trump that is propelling Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s 6th District race.

Although her aides said the filing kicks off an exploration phase, Abrams is all but certain to run for higher office. She has hired staffers and crisscrossed the state readying for an announcement.

Several of her constituents are sure she’s running: One has already announced a bid for her state House seat and others could soon jump in.

The 43-year-old would instantly become the Democratic frontrunner in a wide-open race to replace Deal. Three Republicans are already in the race, including Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp, and about a half-dozen others are considering a bid.

A graduate of Yale Law School, Abrams has represented an Atlanta-based district in the Georgia House since her 2006 victory and in 2011 was elected her party’s leader in the House.

She’s built a national profile as a leading voice for the party in the South, and she’s raised millions of dollars for Democratic causes. Should she run, she’s also aiming for the history books: She would be the first African-American governor in Georgia – and the first black female statewide officeholder in the state’s history.

Jon Ossoff and Stacey Abrams. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Although she’s given fiery speeches at town halls and last year’s Democratic National Committee, in the Georgia statehouse she has carved out a reputation for working with Republicans rather than outright opposing GOP initiatives.

More recently, she has taken on kinship care as a cause, often talking about the problems her parents had navigating the legal maze after they took in a granddaughter to raise.

Abrams might be best known for the New Georgia Project voter registration group that she founded. It aims to register hundreds of thousands of left-leaning voters within the next decade – and has become a favorite target for state Republicans.

She also has another claim to fame: She’s a prolific author of romance novels under the pen name Selena Montgomery, and she wrote her first book while in her third year at Yale Law. She’s been known to insert characters from the Georgia political scene into her work.

Abrams likely won’t run unopposed in the Democratic primary. State Rep. Stacey Evans and Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson are among the Democrats eyeing a run, and both would bring a vastly different approach to the race.

Abrams has long advocated a strategy to mobilize and energize minority voters and others who are already likely to cast ballots with Democrats. Her campaign would likely try to expand the electorate by taking aim at low-propensity voters who rarely head to the ballot boxes.

Evans and Tomlinson appear likely to side with Democrats who hope to take up the middle ground and craft policies to appeal to white voters – including independents and moderate Republicans – who helped Deal and the GOP sweep every statewide office the last two elections.

But Abrams won’t be easily toppled in a Democratic race. She’s a proven fundraiser who holds an advantage in any primary: Black women make up the biggest bloc in Georgia’s Democratic electorate.

Her campaign-in-waiting is poised to spring when she formally announces, and she has already lined up support from politicians and advocates. Among them is former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who called Abrams a “Southern innovator” who helped build the infrastructure that could eventually flip the state.

“In the Trump era, we need state leaders who understand that a governor must serve every resident and face each challenge head on,” Granholm said in a statement. “Stacey has a model and a track record that cannot be beat.”

More: Georgia’s next governor: Who is running in 2018

Here are some comments about Abrams’ likely run from her supporters:

Susan Clymer of the Gwinnett County Democratic Party: “Leader Abrams has always invested in creating Democratic change in Georgia, including in communities where nobody believed such change was possible. Should she choose to run, I cannot wait to pound the pavement to tell Georgians about why she is the best leader to move Georgia forward.”

Emily Ellison, a former nonprofit executive in St. Simons who is Abrams’ campaign treasurer: “In her capacity as the highest ranking Democrat in Georgia, for the past seven years, Stacey Abrams has taken the time to travel to nearly every county in the state to hear from Georgians about how to make their lives better. Everywhere she goes, she leaves behind faith in her capacity to create change for all Georgians.”

Tisha Tallman,  ex-president of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: “Leader Abrams has proven time and again that she will support economic growth in our state – no matter what size your business or dream … She is an entrepreneur, and Stacey knows what it takes for small businesses and families to thrive in our state.”

State Rep. Al Williams: Stacey Abrams is an effective Minority Leader who has deftly worked to re-build the House Caucus during a time of enormous change. Stacey is the right leader at the right time for our state, and I am excited she is exploring a gubernatorial run.”

 


Reader Comments 1

157 comments
Tom H Johnson Jr
Tom H Johnson Jr

I'm voting for her because she's sharp, unusually intelligent and well educated, and she almost always makes great decisions. Because she's the best.

Jamie Riner
Jamie Riner

All I got from the story was how good of a fundraiser ( lobbyist sellout) she is. So just another politician to sell us out..

Michael Stevens
Michael Stevens

GA has one of the best economies in the country! Why? Because it's run by conservatives. No debt, balanced budget, attracting business relocations and HQ's from all over the world. Why is California 1 trillion in debt and business leaving by the 1000's? Because it's run by liberals!

Chad Kesegi
Chad Kesegi

And Atlanta is the incubator of that economy. Sorry, but it's true.

Maize Lindsey
Maize Lindsey

You do not vote for someone just because they are a woman, you vote for them for their ability to do the job ad the know how and if they are well educated enough. I have never heard of her and I do not think hardly anyone else has either. Most of these people run to get their hands on the money from the campaign.

Sheila Shelnutt
Sheila Shelnutt

Men vote for men because they are men. I guess that's OK.

Donna Richards
Donna Richards

If you have never heard of her, you should investigate her unwavering commitment (and successes) in protecting the HOPE Grant for students in the technical colleges.

Debbie Queen
Debbie Queen

No Dems......keep her !!! Keep Georgia conservative !

Karen Swingle
Karen Swingle

A tremendous gal; I've had the privilege of hearing her twice.

Mike Lindsey
Mike Lindsey

Dumb georgia conservative voters haven't been paying attention.

Shelley Holford
Shelley Holford

A black woman for Governor will have my vote in Georgia whether I'd ever heard of her or not!

Shelley Holford
Shelley Holford

It certainly wasn't intended to be. Perhaps it's your problem.

George Mortensen
George Mortensen

What a truly sad statement. What a racist statement. I feel sorry for you.

Stuart Nicholas
Stuart Nicholas

Bigot, racist and sexist all in one statement, your a special kind of bless your heart aren't you?

Shelley Holford
Shelley Holford

Stuart meet George, George meet Stuart. Now the two of you can talk to someone else who enjoys judging others as much as you do. WWJD?

Debbie Queen
Debbie Queen

That's stupid to vote for her bc she's black or bc she's a woman. What about some qualifications ?

Stuart Nicholas
Stuart Nicholas

Shelley Holford Yes she is over qualified as in a political major and law degree makes her better than who? She's another Wisconsin liberal working in Georgia because Georgia can't produce any politicians better than Johnson and Lewis. Her experience is all college, real shocker there!! No real life experience and no practical work experience of any kind. Just what America and Georgia needs another useless life time politician to tell us what we should do while she exempts herself and all other politicians from those very same laws.. Yes she's a good choice, lets make her Governor-NOT.

Daphne Dail
Daphne Dail

It's not hysterical, it's their racism. Stacey Abrams is more than qualified, but some folks can't get past their racism and misogyny. Also, wtf is a Wisconsin liberal??? She's not from Wisconsin...try harder buddy.

Stuart Nicholas
Stuart Nicholas

Daphne Dail Rolls eyes read her bio. The one Shelly posted. When nothing else to say, throw out racism because hey everyone is afraid of being called racist. No I don't support life time politicians and never will.

Stuart Nicholas
Stuart Nicholas

Because of the liberal shill above I had to look her up, she is a non-Georgian and is a life time politician since graduating college. Pretty much another know nothing over smart idiot ready to tell everyone what we do and how to do it.

Jan Ryan
Jan Ryan

Diana McGowan Pate she must not be that popular because I've never seen her or heard of her til this!!!! I'm with you!

David Apatía Hunt
David Apatía Hunt

Well if Jan doesn't know her, she can't be anyone..... your ego doesn't skip a meal does it

Daphne Dail
Daphne Dail

For the love of god, white ladies... please learn to use Google and also stop being racist.

Frank Cicalese
Frank Cicalese

An Obama Liberal. Yeah, that's what we need now. What is it with Liberals, and political stupidity?

Rusty Burnham
Rusty Burnham

No Dems is the new rule.....they have proven tgemselves worthless to politics

Michael Caldwell
Michael Caldwell

Let's see if you dims can do this without pulling the race card- your favorite ploy

Earl Baker
Earl Baker

Ga needs a progressive thinking leader like Allen Peake for governor

Polly Walden
Polly Walden

She may run, but it doesn't mean she will win.

Kahrin Bennett
Kahrin Bennett

Yes. All black female liberals are bigoted, racist, communists who hate the police. No liberals should have any representation or voice in government EVER. If they get money from anyone other than big banks (like activist groups or out of state people or other liberals) they are evil and should die. If they are educated at our best schools ivy leauge schools; they must be bad people... Do you all ever actually listen to yourselves? Then you wonder why people say what they do about you and get mad when they call you deplorable.

Vicki Reynolds
Vicki Reynolds

Ms. Bennett, may I add that one must have a White penis in order to lead a state or nation and certainly to qualify to receive an education and BE RECOGNIZED from an Ivy League school. It never ceases to amaze me of the level of chauvinism and racism that remains in this country and especially in this State. Trouble with all of that is half of the folks that are making such a issue are so pitifully educated they can't get themselves out of a good thunderstorm.

Tray Turner
Tray Turner

You go girl....excellent qualifications, integrity and stands a really real and strong chance to be the next Governor for our State.....we need a change.

Mike Singer
Mike Singer

Does anyone remember what happened the last time when the dems ran an alt-left liberal for Governor?

Monte Poitevint
Monte Poitevint

Another cultural Marxist, running on out of state, commie cash.

Vicki Reynolds
Vicki Reynolds

Define a Marxist, please. I'm really eager to hear this...

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  1. […] — “Abrams files paperwork to run for governor,” by Atlanta Journal Constitution: “House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams filed paperwork Tuesday to run for governor, marking the first step toward an expected bid for the state’s highest office. Abrams would become the highest-profile Democrat in the race to succeed Gov. Nathan Deal and her campaign would seek to capitalize on the same angst over Donald Trump that is propelling Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s 6th District race.” Full story. […]

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