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Stacey Abrams to deliver Democratic response to Trump State of the Union

Abrams, who lost a tight race in Georgia in November, would have been the first black woman elected governor.
Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks to supporters about her expectations of a run-off during an election night watch party, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Atlanta.John Amis / AP file

WASHINGTON — Stacey Abrams, who lost a razor-thin race for governor in Georgia in November, will deliver the official Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address to Congress next week.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday that he had extended the invitation to Abrams three weeks ago, in the middle of the partial government shutdown.

"I was very delighted when she agreed,” Schumer said.

Abrams is “a great spokesperson” and “an incredible leader,” he added.

“She has led the charge for voting rights, which is at the root of just about everything else. And she really has — if you look at her background, she knows what working people, middle-class people go through,” he added.

Abrams, 45, would have been the first female black governor in the country. She lost to Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican who was the Georgia secretary of state during the campaign, by less than 55,000 votes.

"Democracy failed in Georgia," Abrams said then of an election that was marred by allegations of voter roll purging and suppression largely affecting African-Americans.

"I plan to deliver a vision for prosperity and equality, where everyone in our nation has a voice and where each of those voices is heard,” she said in a Tuesday statement on the coming speech.

Schumer and Pelosi also announced that California attorney general Xavier Becerra, who previously served in the House, will deliver another Democratic response in Spanish.

Trump will deliver his address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday after Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., delayed the speech, originally scheduled for Jan. 29, until the government shutdown was over and the government was reopened, which occurred Friday.

Trump accepted Pelosi’s invitation Monday to deliver his address on Feb. 5.