ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — Stacey Abrams spent years working to convince political players that Georgia is a genuine two-party battleground, a Deep South state where the left could compete if it organized Black voters, other sporadic voters and stopped apologizing for being Democrats.
She was right.
The presidential race in Georgia has not been called by the Associated Press as of Sunday afternoon. But, President-elect Joe Biden is on track to become the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state in nearly three decades. The state’s two U.S. Senate seats are heading to a runoff after Democratic candidates mounted strong challenges to Republican incumbents, and the outcome is likely to determine which party controls the chamber.
Abrams, the one-time candidate for Georgia governor is being credited for paving those inroads. People across the country are praising and thanking her for her efforts. She raised millions of dollars to organize and register hundreds of thousands of voters. After her loss, Abrams formed Fair Fight to raise money to organize voters.
“Stacey visited all 159 counties in Georgia and spoke to voters who have often been overlooked by candidates. Her work in Georgia didn’t end after her midterm race, and the 2020 election is a result of her commitment to the state. She has been using a strategy of voter education and calling out voter suppression for what it is. Every state can follow the strategy that Stacey implemented and tailor it to their communities.”Tevon Blair, former Abrams campaign staffer
This week’s election is the culmination of a political shift decades in the making. The GOP’s advantage has slowly eroded as Atlanta and its surrounding suburbs experience explosive population growth.
“There’s a lot of work that’s gone into this, but Stacey really is the architect of what’s been built in Georgia,” said Dubose Porter, the former Georgia Democratic Party chairman and an Abrams mentor.
Abrams said she’s seen this moment coming over many election cycles.
“Georgia has had the potential for years,” she said in an interview shortly before the election. “It didn’t just start this cycle. This has been work that’s been ongoing for nearly a decade, and I’m just proud to see it come to fruition and for it to finally receive the level of investment it deserves.”
Amid the fallout from her failed gubernatorial run, Abrams asserted herself. Democrats, she said, wouldn’t close a gap measured in the hundreds of thousands by changing the minds of white perennial voters. They’d do it by reshaping the electorate, by exciting the expanding universe of potential Democratic voters: the youngest native white Georgians and beyond; Black voters who cast ballots sporadically; Black voters moving to Georgia from other regions; and a growing Latino and Asian-American population.
“Stacey had the vision for getting to new voters, registering them, talking to them — and then giving them a reason to vote,” Porter said.
In 2018, even as Abrams lost, Democrat Lucy McBath won an Atlanta-area congressional seat once held by Republican Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker. McBath was re-elected Tuesday. Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux flipped the neighboring suburban congressional district Tuesday after a narrow defeat two years ago.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.