Stacey Abrams Loses Quest to Become First Black Woman Governor, Concedes to Kemp

by Xara Aziz

Georgia Democratic and progressive gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams has lost her bid to become the nation’s first Black woman governor after losing Tuesday’s election to Brian Kemp, the Republican governor of Georgia who ran for reelection. Her loss ends a closely watched rematch of their 2018 contest.

The race was called early Wednesday morning. Shortly after the announcement was made, Abrams told supporters during her concession speech in Atlanta that “I may no longer be seeking the office of governor, but I will never stop doing everything in my power to ensure that the people of Georgia have a voice.”

She continued: “We may not have made it to the finish line, but we ran that race. We know that running is what matters. That standing is what matters. Defending is what matters. While we might not write the story today, there is always another chapter.”

Mr. Kemp focused a large part of his campaign to sell voters on his successes of the past four years. The incumbent highlighted that he waived public health guidance for Georgia’s business owners and he introduced plans to use the state’s budget surplus of $6 billion to fund tax breaks for residents.

Meanwhile, Abrams built her campaign around Kemp’s failed policies that mostly impacted marginalized communities. She also shed light on Kemp’s support of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. But Abrams often trailed Kemp in the polls and failed to attract swing voters in conservative communities. Additionally, her plea to get Black men to vote was met with condemnation of some who considered it a form of pandering.

Abrams was still able to attract some of the country’s most recognizable figures, who stumped for the voting rights activist. Weeks before the election, media mogul Oprah Winfrey announced she would support Abrams and invited guests to a virtual event featuring her and the Democratic nominee.

“All are invited to join this special event and hear more about Stacey’s unfinished business with the state of Georgia as she works to make history happen this November as the nation’s first Black female governor,” read a statement on Abrams’ website at the time.

Winfrey was one of many high-profile figures to endorse Abrams. A week before Winfrey’s backing, the White House announced that first lady Jill Biden would visit Abrams during a speech at Fort Benning, Georgia.

“When your current governor brags about signing one of the toughest abortion bans in the country, when he refuses to expand Medicaid for Georgians who desperately need health care, as Stacey said, when he tried to make it harder and harder for people to simply use their voices and to go out and vote: I know that that makes you angry,” Biden said during the event.

Had Abrams won, a large part of her vision was for a “one Georgia where everyone thrives.” A core part of her plan was to “support Georgians from cradle to career — expand Medicaid, invest in education and provide free technical college and need-based financial aid, tackle the affordable housing crisis and support small businesses and family farms — all without raising taxes.”

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