Stacey Abrams will be back on the campaign trail in a second bid for governor of Georgia next year, setting the stage for a possible rematch with GOP Gov. Brian Kemp whom she lost to in 2018.
Abrams, hoping to become the nation's first Black female governor, made her campaign announcement Wednesday on Twitter.
"I’m running for Governor because opportunity in our state shouldn’t be determined by zip code, background or access to power," Abrams said in an announcement video. "No matter where we come from in Georgia, or how long we've been here. We believe in this place and our folks who deserve to be seen and heard and have a voice because in the end, we are one Georgia."
In 2018, she ran a high-profile race for governor against Kemp, but lost by less than two points. Abrams credits her loss to Georgia’s restrictive voter registration processes and voter purges.
Following the loss, Abrams continued to gain notoriety as she advocated for voting rights legislation. She launched the Fair Fight voter protection organization, which is credited with helping Joe Biden win Georgia in 2020, as well as Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff win the state's two Senate seats.
"We believe in this place and our folks who deserve to be seen and heard and have a voice because in the end, we are one GA."
Abrams highlighted the work she’s accomplished since leaving the campaign trail in an announcement video that shows Abrams at community events and features various scenes of Georgians at work. "I've worked to do my part to help families make it through paying off medical debt for 68,000 Georgians expanding access to vaccines, bringing supplies to overwhelmed food banks, lending a hand across our state, especially in rural Georgia," she said.
Amid her talking about issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic and workers' rights, Abrams’ campaign ad featured a light-hearted moment as she walked with two young children. "I think you'd make a really good governor. All you have to do is stay tough and stay brave," the child tells her, likely alluding to the tough political battle ahead.
Kemp swiftly responded to Abrams’ announcement by attacking her policy positions. "Next November’s election for Governor is a battle for the soul of our state. I’m in the fight against Stacey Abrams, the failed Biden agenda, and their woke allies to keep Georgia the best place to live, work, and raise a family," he said in a statement.
Both Kemp and Abrams may face primary challenges but their announcements are likely to clear their party's fields, setting the stage for what should be a closely-watched political showdown.
Georgia is set to be thrust into the political landscape once again in 2022 as a pivotal battleground state featuring crucial Senate and House races, and now a tight gubernatorial matchup. It comes after two runoff elections in the state determined party control in the Senate in 2020. Georgia was also one of the states former Donald Trump targeted in his attempts to overturn the election after the state flipped for Biden.
Trump, who has harshly criticized Kemp for not supporting his efforts, has yet to endorse a candidate in this race.
A former Democratic state legislator running for governor, who switched party affiliations because of Trump, Vernon Jones, released a statement Wednesday taking aim at both Abrams and Kemp. "
"In 2018, Brian Kemp defeated Stacey Abrams by the skin of his teeth. And in 2020, he betrayed us. In 2022, we cannot afford to cut it so close. I am the only candidate in the race for Governor who can grow the party, defeat Stacey Abrams, and Take Georgia Back," Jones said.