On Tuesday, former Georgia Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is set to announce the expansion of her group “Fair Fight 2020” during a press conference in Las Vegas. Abrams’ group seeks to combat “voter suppression” in 20 states leading up to the 2020 election. By doubling-down on her debunked claims that so-called voter suppression is to blame for her 2018 loss to Governor Brian Kemp, Abrams is raising her national profile for a presumptive bid to higher office. Her 2018 Gubernatorial campaign in Georgia lost by almost 55,000 votes.
Already, her group has announced plans to work with the Georgia Democratic Party in order to “flip” the Georgia State House back to Democrat control. Previously, the Democrat-controlled legislature passed a number of measures she suggested led to her defeat in 2018, including the requirement that inactive voters be removed from the rolls, a measure which passed in 1997 under a Democrat state government. Abrams has also pointed to restrictions on early voting as a contributing factor to her loss, despite having supported early voting restrictions during her time as a member of the legislature.
Abrams, who still refers to Governor Brian Kemp as “the architect of suppression” for enforcing laws passed by the Georgia legislature, has refused to concede the election despite losing by a clear margin. Her group is already posting impressive fundraising totals -- $4 million in the first half of 2019 -- and will also intervene in the gubernatorial contests in Louisiana, Kentucky, and Mississippi this year.
Abrams is a shrewd politician, and as her fundraising suggests, she understands the power of the voter-supression narrative. Presidential contenders such as Sen. Kristen Gillibrand have echoed her claims and made her a martyr on the national stage. By undermining the Democratic process and refusing to concede, she understands that her martyrdom will make her a Democratic kingmaker in both Georgia and on the national stage for years to come.
However, proponents of open, fair and honest elections can look at one thing to understand the truth behind her claims: data. In Georgia’s 2018 Gubernatorial Election, voter turnout surged as 3.9 million Georgians cast their ballots, compared to the previous midterm turnout of 2.5 million in 2014. With President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on the ballot in 2016, 4.1 million Georgians voted. With nearly Presidential-level turnout for a Gubernatorial contest, its safe to say that Georgians voted, Governor Kemp won, and Stacey Abrams found a path to relevance for a future contest.