In 2018, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams only lost to her Republican opponent Gov. Brian Kemp by less than 55,000 votes. This is with Abrams getting 97% of the Black female and 88% of the Black male votes. For the November midterms, Abrams feels that her fortunes will be different this time around. As Yahoo News reports, at a campaign event, Abrams said, “If Black men vote for me, I will win Georgia.”
Abrams’s campaign event on Sunday is a part of her “One Georgia” initiative, which seeks to meet voters where they’re at, both physically and ideologically. The most recent Atlanta-Journal Constitution poll shows Abrams has 90% of the Black female vote but just 80% of the Black male vote. Gov. Kemp has a five-point lead, so the 10% of undecided Black males will be crucial. Abrams seemed determined to make sure people are aware that those undecided voters matter.
“People have a reason to be suspicious when you believe that an election can transform the world and it doesn’t happen,” she said in a face-to-face interview with Yahoo News just ahead of the campaign event. “It is absolutely understandable that people feel that there may not be a reason to show up. And that’s why my campaign is so intentional about reaching people where they are. ... I’m focusing on that [undecided] 10% because I want them to know that if they show up and if they participate, they will be, they’ll be served by an Abrams administration.”
As Yahoo News expressed, a significant issue Georgians are looking at is how the candidates will tackle rising crime rates. While the rise in crime can’t be pinned on a single factor, Brian Kemp has been governor throughout this entire period. Abrams acknowledges how important the topic is and has spoken to law enforcement, but put a spotlight on gun safety.
70% of Georgia voters oppose citizens carrying concealed weapons without a permit – a policy Gov. Kemp signed off on in April. Abrams argues that we can balance the need for law enforcement while holding them accountable when things go wrong.
Again, from Yahoo News:
“This is about life and death, but we also need to make certain we’ve got law enforcement that can protect us and be held responsible and accountable when they don’t do right. We need a governor who actually understands that you can both support law enforcement and publicly talk about accountability and transparency, and that you’re not betraying one to lift up the other.”
This race is predicted to come down to the wire. Still, democratic strategist Antjuan Seawright believes Abrams has a tremendous opportunity to maximize the Black vote ahead of the November midterm elections.
“I think that Stacey Abrams and our party have a tremendous responsibility and opportunity to educate and engage, perhaps the most consequential voting bloc in a generation, and that’s Black men,” Seawright told Yahoo News. “We often refer to the Black vote with its strength and its power, but that’s a collective Black vote — Black men and Black women. And if we don’t have two of those things rising together, you dilute the power and the strength of the Black vote.
It’s important to point out that only 24% of white voters voted for Abrams in the 2018 election. That amount has only increased to 26% in a recent Atlanta-Journal Constitution poll. With voting restriction measures in place for the Georgia midterms, it will be more challenging than ever for Black voters to make up the difference.