By Martha Dalton
Posted May 23rd 2018
(PHOTO: STACEY ABRAMS DEMOCRATIC GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR)
CASEY CAGLE AND BRIAN KEMP
Georgia’s primary elections made history Tuesday night.
Democrat Stacey Abrams is the country’s first black, female candidate for governor. The former Georgia House minority leader is also the state’s first female gubernatorial candidate.
Despite those achievements, Abrams now enters a general election where she’s the underdog. In November, she’ll face either Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle or Secretary of State Brian Kemp. The two Republicans are headed for a July runoff.
When she addressed supporters Tuesday, Abrams admitted the race would be tough. But she seemed determined to beat the odds.
Hundreds of supporters came to the Atlanta Sheraton to watch Stacey Abrams clinch the Democratic nomination for Georgia governor. (Dustin Chambers/WABE)
“We must remember that we’re in the state where the red clay gives life to generations of dreamers,” Abrams said. “The state where Martin marched on ballot boxes and challenged a nation’s conscience, a Georgia that gave us the Godfather of Soul, the Queen of the Met, and sent a peanut farmer to the Oval Office.”
Hundreds of supporters came to the Atlanta Sheraton to watch Abrams clinch the nomination, including Erika Mitchell’s family.
“We are supporting her because she’s our Spelman sister, and on top of that she’s the most qualified candidate, and we’re really excited about turning Georgia blue,” Mitchell said.
It’s unclear how “blue” or even “purple” Georgia could turn.
Stacey Abrams will now enter a Georgia governor’s general election where she’s the underdog. In November, she’ll face either Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle or Secretary of State Brian Kemp. (Dustin Chambers/WABE)
Andra Gillespie, an associate professor of political science at Emory University, says Republicans still have an advantage in Georgia, even though their margins of victory have narrowed recently.
“A win is a win,” Gillespie says. “So, whether you win by 5 points or 7 points or 20 points, Republicans are still winning elections, and based on voting behavior, it looks like there are more Republican voters in the state than Democrats.”
State data show 606,161 Republicans voted in Tuesday’s primaries, compared with 552,750 Democrats.
Nonetheless, Erika Mitchell believes Abrams can win.
“I totally think it’s possible,” she says. “I think she’s really got people motivated, and if those people turn out, I think we’ve got a good chance.”
Gillespie says for that to happen, Abrams would need a massive “get out the vote” effort, and a depressed turnout from Republicans.