Former Georgia state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams—who has been seen as a progressive challenger to her opponent, former state Rep. Stacey Evans—won a nationally watched Democratic primary race on Tuesday, securing an opportunity to become the nation's first black female governor.
BREAKING: @staceyabrams wins a historic victory for the entire progressive movement by becoming the Democratic Gubernatorial nominee in Georgia and potentially the first Black woman governor! https://t.co/ehc6Rz7WYP
— MovementVoterProject (@MovementVote) May 23, 2018
"We are writing the next chapter of Georgia's future, where no one is unseen, no one is unheard, and no one is uninspired. We are writing a history of a Georgia where we prosper together," Abrams said in a victory speech that touched on policies to help working Americans, increase access to childcare, transition to renewable energy, improve public education, and reform the state's prison system.
Progressives celebrated her primary win in a flood of congratulatory tweets:
Congratulations to @StaceyAbrams on her historic win tonight for the Democratic nomination for Georgia governor. Make no mistake — it’s powerful women like her who are leading the charge in 2018. It’s up to us to speak out, step up, and elect them this November. pic.twitter.com/1ewSQVHJm0
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) May 23, 2018
Congratulations to @staceyabrams! Now let’s elect her Governor of Georgia.
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) May 23, 2018
— Tom Steyer (@TomSteyer) May 23, 2018
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) May 23, 2018
The tax attorney and romance novelist turned politician was raised in Mississippi until her family moved to Atlanta when she was in high school. She earned a bachelor's degree from Spelman College, a master's degree from the University of Texas, and law degree from Yale University. Before serving as the top Democrat in the statehouse, she was Atlanta's deputy city attorney.
Abrams was endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and the group spun out of his 2016 presidential race, Our Revolution. She has also received support from U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.); Georgia State AFL-CIO and other labor organizations; NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and other reproductive rights advocates; the Georgia Association of Educators; the Georgia Working Families Party; and LGBTQ, gun control, and immigrant rights advocacy groups.
Many of her backers celebrated her win while also vowing to continue working toward the November race.
CONGRATS @staceyabrams! We know you are the leader who will shine a light towards progress for Georgia and our country. That's why our members have pulled out all the stops for this primary win and will continue through November! #TeamAbrams #gapol pic.twitter.com/i8Cln31sAP
— NARAL Pro-Choice Georgia (@NARALGA) May 23, 2018
Although there has been excitement surrounding Abrams' campaign, it has not come without controvery. As the Associated Press reports, her campaign "was plagued by allegations of ethics violations, including that she reimbursed herself money from campaign accounts without record and that she used campaign resources to promote book sales from which she personally profited. She has denied the allegations."
On the Republican side, the AP noted, "the field was all white men" with experience in politics and business. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp bested three other opponents, and the official GOP nominee will be selected in a runoff scheduled for July 24.
Emphasizing the need for "all hands on deck" until Abrams' race in November, Kumar Rao, a senior staff attorney focusing on racial justice at the Center for Popular Democracy, pointed out that she "will face an anti-immigrant, Trump apologist/NRA gun fiend, regardless of who wins the Republican primary."
Stacey Abrams will face an anti-immigrant, Trump apologist / NRA gun fiend, regardless of who wins the Republican primary.
She, on the the other hand, will have an inclusive, progressive agenda for all.
— Kumar Rao (@KumarRaoNYC) May 23, 2018
Journalist and activist Shaun King noted how Abrams has been backed by supporters of Sanders and his 2016 Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, who has also endorsed the candidate. "I'm actually not sure if more Bernie & Hillary surrogates have ever lined up behind a single candidate post 2016 like we all just did for Stacey Abrams," King tweeted. "She can win this thing."