Democrat Stacey Abrams, former gubernatorial candidate in Georgia, announced she will not be running for the seat Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) announced he will be vacating for health reasons.
Abrams had already taken herself out of consideration for a 2020 presidential run after garnering national attention following her 2018 loosing run for governor, and before Isakson’s announcement, she had previously announced she would not run for the Senate against Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue, whose full six-year term is up in early 2021.
So What is Abrams up to?
In her Georgia gubernatorial race, Abrams lost to Brian Kemp, the Republican secretary of state for Georgia who was in charge of administering the state’s elections, including the one where he faced off against Abrams. In the months leading up to the election, Kemp reportedly stalled more than 53,000 voter applications, which included a disproportionately high number of Black voters.
After her loss, Abrams put a spotlight on the issues and challenges she said voters in Georgia had faced and on the issue of voter suppression more broadly across the country.
“There are only two things stopping us in 2020: that people have a reason to vote, and that they have the right to vote,” Abrams said last month. “I’ve decided to leave it to a whole bunch of other people to make sure they have a reason to vote.”
Last month, Abrams announced plans for a multimillion-dollar initiative called Fair Fight 2020 to staff and fund voter protection teams in battleground states across the country ahead of the 2020 elections.
“We’re going to have a fair fight in 2020,” Abrams said. “I’m going to use my energies, and my very, very loud voice to raise the money we need to train those across the country in our 20 battleground states to make sure that Donald Trump and the Senate take a hike and we put people in place who know what we need to have.”
In her fight against voter suppression, Abrams said, “My job is to be the voice of those who don’t think they are heard. People who turned in their ballots in good faith only to find they were thrown away because their signatures didn’t match the card they signed 10 years ago. My signature doesn’t match from Kroger to CVS.”
Abrams mentioned thousands of voters who took paid time off from work to stand in line for hours only to get a provisional ballot at polling places.
“Told ‘come back in the next three days and make sure it counts,’ ” she said, “knowing they’re not going to get another day off from work.”
Fair Fight 2020 aims to train people to work polling places, build a better system for counting ballots and launch a hotline polling places can use to navigate any voting problems.
Abrams didn’t comment on how much Fair Fight 2020 would cost, but the effort could reportedly cost between $4 million and $5 million.
Open for Vice-President Nod
About possibly being Democrats’ vice presidential nominee next year, Abrams said, “I would be honored to be considered by any nominee. But my responsibility is to focus on the primary. And that means using the primary as an opportunity to build the apparatus to fight voter suppression.”
Associated Press contributed