Civil rights icon backs Abrams in Georgia governor race

The Rev. Joseph Lowery at a prayer vigil at the Central United Methodist Church in May 2014. AJC/Jason Getz

Civil rights leader Joseph Lowery endorsed Democrat Stacey Abrams’ campaign for governor on Monday, calling her a leader who “puts people first and refuses to leave anyone behind.”

Lowery’s endorsement gives Abrams a boost in a bitter primary fight against state Rep. Stacey Evans that has underlined racial tensions within the party.

“Stacey Abrams is a leader who will work for change,” said Lowery, “and help all of us find the power within ourselves to do the same.”

Abrams, a state legislator who was once the top Democrat in the House, has defied conventional Democratic strategy as she runs to be the nation’s first black female governor. Her plan hinges on mobilizing progressive voters, particularly black women, and energizing left-leaning minorities who rarely cast ballots.

Evans, a Smyrna lawmaker who is white, also has designs on winning over progressives along with rebuilding a tattered coalition of working-class and suburban voters who have steadily flocked to the GOP.

The intraparty battle reached an early flashpoint last week when protesters shouted down Evans at a progressive conference in Atlanta, chanting “support black women” and “trust black women” until she abandoned the stage. Pressed to rebuke the demonstration, Abrams said she would not “condemn peaceful protest” she said aimed to give voice to marginalized black women.

The two have already carved up loyalties within the party. Abrams has locked down support from U.S. Rep. John Lewis, another civil rights leader, as well as Emily’s List and a host of progressive groups. Evans has the endorsement of former Gov. Roy Barnes and a lengthy list of African-American state legislators.

Lowery, 95, is one of the greatest surviving voices of the Civil Rights era and has long played a prominent role in Georgia politics. He recently endorsed Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell for mayor, giving him a boost in a November race that could be highly fractured along racial lines.

In a statement, Lowery called Abrams a resilient politician whose “life’s work is informed by her dedication to helping others.”

“A Georgia that Stacey Abrams leads will be our Georgia – one where people are empowered to speak up and take action in the face of injustice,” he said.

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Reader Comments 1

61 comments
Richard Jolly
Richard Jolly

I don't care give me a reason to move from this greedy state

Randall Dellemar
Randall Dellemar

I really trust Dr. but still have to do my own research.

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Cosby Butch Smith
Cosby Butch Smith

Seems the Governor's race is becoming a race issue already. Will get interesting but sad very sad

Sheron Hilliker Edge
Sheron Hilliker Edge

These endorsements, are hurting and not helping. Georgia will remain a red state.

John Smith
John Smith

Of course they are racists bigots.

Myra Moore
Myra Moore

Would NEVER vote for this person!!!! But, GUESS WHO has endorsed her? Jimmy Carter. Pitiful....he and other hard-shelled democrats would ALWAYS endorse one of their own, no matter what the candidate REALLY stands for....!!!!!

Ken Wats
Ken Wats

They stick together like a pack of ferrel dogs.

Dean Walton
Dean Walton

Question: if the AJC is a "race-baiting liberal rag" how come so many Republican mouth-breathers read it?

Kathey Ledford
Kathey Ledford

If any one loves history keep this person out of office!!!!

Jane Peeler Sawyer
Jane Peeler Sawyer

Of course he does,, black most always vote for black....no matter what they stand for....I'll just call that RACIST !!!!!!

Tamas Nagy
Tamas Nagy

Joseph Lowery name is enough for me not to vote for you

Anthony Negri
Anthony Negri

The democrats are going to make both the democrat primary and the general election about race. Never mind the issues Georgia faces nope nothing but race. Also anticipate that a white GOP candidate will be labeled a racist and white supremacist.

Luther Harter
Luther Harter

A racist backing a racist now that's surely gonna get her elected

Henry Allen Black
Henry Allen Black

Hey civil rights icon joseph lowery you can take abrams under your arm and go straight to hell, where you both belong!! Georgia is a RED Republican state and will electic a Conservative Republican Governer!!

Wilson Allen
Wilson Allen

This old has been is about as useless at taste buds on a rectum. A definite NO vote now.

Ricky Sangster
Ricky Sangster

Let me guess... Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson will endorse as well.. LMAO

James P. Morrow
James P. Morrow

Isn't this icon the same icon that brought up WMDs at Coretta's funeral?

Mike Singer
Mike Singer

The Auschwitz concentration camps were used to murder millions, and not just Jews. Poland has not removed it, torn it down or destroyed it...Poland keeps it there as a reminder to never let that happen again. See how that works? If we forget our History, even the bad we are doomed to repeat it.

Mike Singer
Mike Singer

Norman, that is a totally un-true, absurd and really stupid thing to say. (it shows your ignorance and you lack of knowledge)

John Woods
John Woods

Wow...A Commie Rat endorsing another Commie Rat...

Brandon Paxton
Brandon Paxton

The fact that you have clearly chosen NOT to understand is quite literally the definition of such. #IGNORANCEISACHOICE. #RISEABOVETHESTEREOTYPES #RACIST #WHITEPRIVILEGE

Dean Walton
Dean Walton

Why not? What has she done to turn you away? Or is it just because she's a Democrat?

Robert Chance
Robert Chance

Dean i don't vote for any democrats. Don't agree with any of them. That satisfy you?

Dean Walton
Dean Walton

Yes, that answer satisfies me. Republicans tend not to vote for Democrats, and Democrats dont usually vote for Republicans. But I have another question: why are you concerned with endorsements for candidates in the Democratic primary, which you don't vote in?

Ken Wats
Ken Wats

Dean Walton Its just because she is a STUPID IDIOT.

Rod Miller
Rod Miller

That and Stone Mountain idea will put her over the top outside I-285 \U0001f644\U0001f606

Brandon Paxton
Brandon Paxton

The Atlanta metro is 1/3 of the states population but by all means, believe what you want.

Tony Delgado
Tony Delgado

Columbus and Savannah always vote a majority Democratic. There's hundreds of thousands of African Americans in South Georgia as well that will most likely vote for her.

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