WASHINGTON — The primary was one thing. Turning Georgia blue will be another.
But Stacey Abrams, who became one of her party’s biggest stars overnight by routing her primary opponent Tuesday, is sure to have plenty of help from national Democrats, including those who know the path to the presidential nomination runs through the South.
Abrams is now trying to become the first black female governor in American history — and she’s trying to do it in a Southern state that only removed the Confederate Flag from its state flag five years before she was elected to the Georgia Statehouse.
Moreover, Abrams is employing a novel strategy for Southern Democrats — running as an unapologetic progressive and betting that people will show up who otherwise wouldn’t vote.
“We win with a message of progress,” she told MSNBC Wednesday. “Georgia’s a very different state than it was even 10 years ago.”
“We don’t have to pivot to conservative values to win in Georgia. We just have to speak about our own values and have bold and detailed plans about how we’re going to make it work,” she continued.
Four years ago, Jason Carter, the grandson of the former president, took a very different approach. He ran unsuccessfully for governor of Georgia as a self-described “NRA Democrat,” touting his A rating from the pro-gun group and playing up his 10 generations of Georgia heritage.
It’s been 20 years since the state elected a Democratic governor and Republicans are eager for the latest fight.
“With Stacey Abrams, Democrats have chosen a far-left radical committed to imposing an extreme agenda on Georgians,” said Jon Thompson, a spokesperson for the Republican Governors Association. “Abrams would weaken Georgia’s economy, promote radical extremism, and fail to uphold the public’s trust. Georgia voters will reject her out-of-touch agenda this November.”
But supporters say Abrams 76-24 percent landslide over Stacey Evans in the Democratic primary on Tuesday points to how she can succeed in November.