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In Georgia, President-elect Joseph R. Biden is currently leading the 2020 presidential race against incumbent Donald J. Trump by approximately 14,163 votes. Many people are crediting one person in particular with Biden’s Georgia win: Stacey Abrams. Here’s why Abrams is getting so much attention – and how she soon might affect other elections.
Who is Stacey Abrams?
In 2002, Stacey Abrams was the deputy city attorney for Atlanta, Georgia. In 2006, she ran as the Democratic candidate for the Georgia House of Representatives’ 89th District and won with 51% of the vote. She was in office until 2017 and is credited for single-handedly stopping the biggest tax increase in Georgia history.
While serving in Georgia’s House of Representatives, Abrams founded a voters rights nonprofit called The New Georgia Project. The organization has launched numerous voter registration programs and online campaigns to increase Georgia’s electorate in diverse communities.
In 2018, Abrams ran as the Democratic candidate in the Georgia gubernatorial election. On May 22, 2018, she won the party’s nomination, making her the first Black woman in the United States to be a major party’s nominee for governor. However, Abrams ultimately lost her election by 50,000 votes to Republican candidate Brian Kemp. Abrams alleged that her loss was due to voter suppression by state officials.
After Abrams’ gubernatorial loss, she founded the nonprofit Fair Fight to combat voter suppression and organize voters. Fair Fight also educates and encourages prospective voters in Georgia and across the country.
How did Fair Fight affect the election?
This year, Abrams and Fair Fight registered approximately 800,000 new voters. Her coalition is credited for registering many first-time young and diverse voters in Georgia, helping Biden win in the state by more than 14,000 votes as of November 13. Georgia’s rapidly changing demographics in Atlanta’s suburbs accelerated the state’s shift to voting for a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time since 1992.
Over a third of Georgia’s population is Black, and many people say that Black voters were disproportionately disenfranchised when the state conducted the largest voter purge in U.S. history in 2017. Georgia has a notably diverse group of young Black, Latinx, and Asian-American registered voters along with a larger share of white Democratic voters, making the state’s non-Republican coalition stronger.
How might Fair Fight affect the Georgia runoff elections?
In Georgia, any Senate race in which no candidate receives more than 50% of all votes proceeds to a runoff. Thus, both of this year’s Senate races are proceeding to runoffs, in which Stacey Abrams and Fair Fight could again play a pivotal role.
In one of these Senate runoff races, Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff is running against Republican incumbent Senator David Perdue. Ossoff ran in the 2016-2017 Georgia Senate runoff election as well, and he lost to Republican Senator Karen Handel by 3.8 points. On November 6, Ossoff held a rally where he praised Abrams for leading efforts to register and turn out voters, without whom Ossoff would not be headed to a runoff against Perdue.
Likewise, Democrat Raphael Warnock is headed to a runoff Senate race against Georgia’s other Republican senator, Kelly Loeffler. However, in that race, a third Republican candidate, Doug Collins, ran. The margin between Loeffler and Warnock is far smaller than the number of votes Collins received before being eliminated in the runoff, bringing the chances of a Democratic runoff victory into question.
On Monday, Abrams announced that she and Fair Fight Action had already raised $6 million for Ossoff and Warnock. With Abrams and Fair Fight’s influential contributions, many believe it is possible that, following the Georgia runoff elections, Abrams will be chaired for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and run again for Georgia’s governorship.