Activists undeterred by the defeat of Stacey Abrams in run for Georgia governor

“I believe she's just getting started," said Aimee Allison, the founder of She the People, told theGrio.

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Activists say Stacey Abrams’ political career is just beginning even though the gubernatorial Democratic candidate was defeated by Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Tuesday night.

“I don’t think she’s going anywhere. She’s young. I believe she’s just getting started,” said Aimee Allison, founder of She the People, told theGrio.

FILE – This combination of photos shows Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, left, on May 24, 2022, in Atlanta, and gubernatorial Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams on Aug. 8, 2022, in Decatur, Ga. Early in-person voting begins in Georgia on Monday, Oct. 17, hours before the candidates for governor meet in the first of two scheduled debates. Democrats in particular are trying to push their supporters to cast ballots early in races that include a pivotal U.S. Senate seat. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

She added, “Stacey Abrams’ name is shorthand for the possibilities of this country. The future of this country.”

According to Associated Press, on Nov. 8, 53.4% of voters cast their ballots in favor of Kemp, while Abrams only accrued 45.9% of the votes.

In 2018, the Republican incumbent narrowly beat his Democratic opponent; however, this time around, Kemp’s lead was prominent.

Democratic strategist Ameshia Cross told theGrio, “It’s heart-wrenching to watch this, because just a few years ago, [Abrams] was the shining star there.”

Stacey Abrams, Democratic candidate for Governor of Georgia, speaks to the media after posing for photos with students and encouraging voting at Georgia State University on November 7, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. Abrams is in a rematch with Republican Governor Brian Kemp.(Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

She continued, “She had demographics of a multicultural coalition that basically came out in support of her, and right now, we’re not seeing that coalition be as robust or as strong or as vocal when it comes to this race.”

Civil rights leader Maya Wiley told theGrio she wasn’t “surprised” Abrams lost her bid for governor. “We knew that it was going to be a close race and an uphill battle,” she expressed.

The president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights continued, “But, here’s the thing, we have so many amazing qualified Black women running for public office, and Stacey Abrams, Cheri Beasley in North Carolina, others…proved that they have what it takes not only to run great campaigns but to have policy solutions that matter for our people.”

(Getty Images)

Weeks leading up to the midterm elections, high-profile celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Byron Allen, the owner of theGrio, publicly supported Abrams in an effort to help her gain better traction amongst Black voters.

During their discussion, Abrams told Allen that if she became Georgia’s next governor, she would tackle the fallout from the United States Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade, which up until this summer, guaranteed the constitutional right to an abortion.

“If I become governor of Georgia, this is what it means for the rest of Black America and the rest of America. Right now, between Texas and Oklahoma, across to South Carolina, from Tennessee down to Florida, women do not have the right to control their bodies,” she explained. 

“They do not have the right to access abortion. I can make Georgia the oasis for Black women because there will be no one else. I’m it, and we can win this,” she added.

Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, left, and Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams face off in a televised debate, in Atlanta, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Ben Gray)

Activist D. Watkins told theGrio that he was pulling for Abrams and stated, “the people of Georgia deserve better.”

“Kemp has not delivered. He hasn’t done the things that he talked about when he was campaigning. He has not made the state any better. He’s had his four years. It’s time for him to go,” he added.

Although Abrams was not elected governor, Wiley believes she and others who lost their races will remain in politics and continue to advocate for their communities.

“I don’t think any of them are done or gone, because I think the proof point is that they have a tremendous amount of support, and they’ve done it by actually meeting people in the streets. Meeting them where they are understanding their problems and bringing solutions,” she said.

Black Voters Matter Group Gathers In Selma For March To Montgomery
Marchers lead chants during the Black Voters Matter’s 57th Selma to Montgomery march on March 09, 2022 in Selma, Alabama. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Wiley continued, “We’re not saying goodbye to any of these powerful leaders who ran for office and who will not disappear on the landscape of a just and fair country for Black people.”

Allison told theGrio, in recent years, Abrams paved the way for minority political figures and deserves her “flowers.”

“She built an infrastructure of organizers to register and turn out to vote; people of color who have been ignored in the past by both parties,” she explained.

She continued, Abrams also “founded Fair Fight to defend voting rights when there’s no federal protections,” which she believes helped lead to Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock’s victory against incumbent then-Republican U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler in 2020.

Cheri Beasley
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Beasley speaks to supporters at the Cumberland County Cookout and Canvass Launch event on November 6, 2022 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

Wiley told theGrio, moving forward, she is going to do her part “to stay focused on the policies and helping people get to the polls so they can voice their own decisions about who leads them.”

She added, “I think that means a bright future for Black candidates.”

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