Politics

Abrams’ Path to Governor’s Mansion Lined by Forgotten Blocs

From the moment she began her Georgia gubernatorial campaign in June 2017, Stacey Abrams knew what needed to be done.

She wanted to talk to people who had become disillusioned with voting or had never voted at all, groups of potential voters that had not been acknowledged by candidates in the past. She went to rural areas where candidates usually did not go and election polling was not frequently done. Her consistent message about the need for education, health care coverage and jobs resonated with her targets.

To connect with those voters, Abrams went to each of the 159 Georgia counties.

“From the beginning of my campaign, I never pivoted from that message about education, health care and jobs,” Abrams said the weekend before the election. “They are the core of progress.”

The Abrams campaign organized in tandem with the Democratic Party of Georgia to mount a robust field game at an unprecedented scale for a statewide campaign. The digital component included a strong social media effort on a range of platforms with many social media postings including live-streamed events.

A diverse group of campaign volunteers “on the ground” included a range of racial, gender, age, economic, LGBTQ, religious, urban and rural differences. That enthusiastic volunteer presence allowed Abrams to reach out to a broad group of voters.

“We were able to speak with more Georgians, specifically those who have often been left out by traditional campaigns,” an Abrams campaign spokesperson said. “Our field operation worked closely with the digital team to ensure all Georgians could see the great work being done to amplify Abrams’ message.”

Abrams also was prepared to tackle voter suppression challenges. She worked on voter rights issues as minority leader in the Georgia legislature.

With the eroding of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Abrams said she knew that purging would begin on the Georgia voter rolls.

“That was wrong. He knew the state was changing,” Abrams said of Brian Kemp, the Republican gubernatorial nominee. “What Brian Kemp said in 2014, was that too many minorities were being registered and that Republicans should be afraid.”

Not frequently discussed during the Georgia governor’s political race was that Abram’s running mate also is a woman. A win for Sarah Riggs Amico, the Democratic lieutenant governor candidate, would make it the first time the top two positions in a state are held by women.

Amico — is White and a former Republican —and Abrams provide a markedly different look for state leadership compared to the two White men that head the Republican ticket in Georgia.

“She was a first-time candidate and a business owner,” Abrams said of Amico. “She grew her business from 100 to 3,500 employees in less than a decade and she pays for worker health insurance at 100 percent.”

Again, this female team targeted several key targets in the Abrams campaign strategy including women voters, business owners and the need for health care coverage.

If elected, Abrams said that during her first 30 days in office, she will push forward on Medicaid expansion, a goal she emphasized on the campaign trail.

“That is the crux of how we save rural Georgia,” she said. “It’s critical for how we save women’s lives.”

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