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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 February 2021

Stacey Abrams: the force behind Joe Biden's strong showing in Georgia

Democrat turned her focus to voter empowerment after controversial 2018 election loss

Stacey Abrams speaks at a Get Out the Vote rally with former US president Barack Obama as he campaigns for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on November 2, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. AFP
Stacey Abrams speaks at a Get Out the Vote rally with former US president Barack Obama as he campaigns for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on November 2, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. AFP

After news broke that US presidential candidate Joe Biden was leading in Georgia on Friday, many were crediting Stacey Abrams for helping to potentially turn the southern state blue for the first time since 1992.

Ms Abrams, 46, was the Democratic party’s nominee for Georgia governor in 2018 but lost in a closely contested election tainted by accusations of voter suppression.

She considered a legal challenge to the results, but instead announced the creation of Fair Fight Action, a non-profit organisation founded to help make the election process fairer by advocating for changes in voter registration and to encourage higher voter turnout.

Through the organisation, Ms Abrams has helped to register at least 800,000 new voters in Georgia, of whom 45 per cent are under the age of 30 and 49 per cent are people of colour.

Many of her supporters have pushed her to run for office again, but she has been steadfast in her belief that voter registration is the best use of her time.

“There’s a bit of myopia that sees [Washington] DC as the source of all the problems and the source of all the answers,” Ms Abrams told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“It ignores the reality that is particularly acute in the South, that before you can even argue that narrative, you have to be able to participate in the process.”

On social media, praise was heaped upon Ms Abrams for the groundwork she laid to help Mr Biden in possibly turning the state blue.

“So much praise @staceyabrams for her vision, brilliance, and hard work. And everyone working with her. Turning Georgia blue is huge,” Jennifer Taub, a professor at the Western New England University School of Law, wrote on Twitter.

“Remember, even Obama did not do that. See 2008 map. Even Bill Clinton did not get a majority in Georgia in 1992. Just a plurality.”

Late night host James Corden also took to Twitter to praise Ms Abrams, calling her “beyond inspiring”.

“What she and her team have done to make it possible to vote safely and fairly and legitimately in Georgia is perhaps one of the single most important things to come to fruition this election. Incredible."

Actress Rosanna Arquette tweeted, “Gratitude to brilliant Stacey Abrams for all you have done for voting rights. Georgia on my mind,” while director Jordan Peele wrote “thank you @StaceyAbrams”.

Mr Biden came from behind to take a narrow lead over President Donald Trump in Georgia on Friday as officials counted mail-in ballots for the November 3 election. The vote counting was not completed, however, and Mr Trump has threatened to challenge the result if his rival wins the state.

Updated: November 6, 2020 09:50 PM

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