Stacey Abrams could in three weeks become the first black American woman to be elected a state’s Democratic nominee for governor. She now has a major backer in that effort: California Sen. Kamala Harris.
Georgia’s fast-approaching May 22 primary has been more competitive than initially expected when Abrams, formerly the minority leader of the state’s legislature, jumped into the race.
"Stacey Abrams is a leader who believes that Georgia's potential is limitless if we work together to uplift every family," said Harris in her endorsement. "From her efforts on criminal justice reform and voting rights to blocking Republican attempts to undermine the economic security of working families, Abrams has a proven track record of achieving progress.”
Both establishment figures and lefty groups have lined up behind Abrams this year: Everyone from EMILY’s List and Rep. John Lewis to Bernie-backed Our Revolution has endorsed Abrams. Harris is widely believed to be a possible candidate in 2020 for the Democratic presidential nomination. If she does indeed run, she’ll certainly want — as Democrats, including Abrams, long have — to turn Georgia blue. (So intense has this effort become, prominent Georgia Democrats told BuzzFeed News that Atlanta will bid to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention.)
Abrams and Harris are both graduates of historically black colleges, both were trained as lawyers, and both politicians are seen as party figures who excite black women, the party’s most loyal base. Some Democrats wondered, mostly in private, whether Harris’s close friendship with former Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed, once a political foe of Abrams — and who, like Harris, attended Howard University — would have any bearing on Harris’s entry into the race.
“Now is the time for Democrats to stand together and support candidates who have a clear vision and real plans for how we can move our communities and our nation forward — Stacey Abrams is that kind of leader,” Harris said in a statement.
Abrams, who is crisscrossing the state in an effort to get out the early vote, was effusive in her praise of the California lawmaker. “I am deeply honored to have Senator Harris' support," said Abrams in a statement. “Her work to champion criminal justice reform, health care access, and fight for justice for homeowners against the big banks, is essential to fostering progress in her home state, and across the country.
“I look forward to working alongside Sen. Harris to build a Georgia where every family has the freedom and opportunity to thrive.”