Stacey Abrams rules out 2020 Senate bid

Abrams said she did not see being a senator as "the best role for me in this battle for our nation's future."
Image: Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks during the National Action Network Convention in New York.
Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks during the National Action Network Convention in New York.Seth Wenig / AP file

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By Allan Smith

Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Georgia, announced Tuesday morning in a video on Twitter that she will not run for U.S. Senate in 2020.

"The Senate provides a singular platform from which to address the issues of access to justice, economic security, health care, and restoring the integrity of our nation's democracy," Abrams said. "However, I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for U.S. Senate."

Being a senator would not be "the best role for me in this battle for our nation's future," she said.

"But let's be clear: I will do everything in my power to ensure Georgia elects a Democrat to the United States Senate in 2020," Abrams said, adding that she does not "know exactly what's next for me."

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Her decision was first reported by CNN.

Abrams, the former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives who lost a close race to then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp last fall, was considered to be a top candidate to take on Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., in 2020. Abrams has not closed the door on a presidential bid and is considered a contender to be nominated for vice president next year.

National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Jesse Hunt cast Abrams' decision as "an embarrassing recruiting fail" for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., "leaving Georgia Democrats stuck with an assortment of second-tier candidates."

Stewart Boss, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement that Abrams "would have been a great senator," as will "the candidate who takes on" Perdue in 2020.

"Stacey and Georgia Democrats laid a strong foundation for 2020, and Sen. Perdue will be held accountable for driving up health care costs, giving big corporations and millionaires like himself a tax break, and putting the president ahead of what’s right," Boss said. "His weaknesses are why Georgia is a great pickup opportunity."

In her video, Abrams highlighted voter suppression — an issue she's discussed at length in the aftermath of her controversial loss to Kemp. In the month before the vote, Kemp's office, which oversaw the election, had more than 50,000 voter registration applications still pending. Most of those were from black voters, according to the Associated Press, which led to Abrams and civil rights groups accusing Kemp of discriminatory practices.

Abrams, who lost that election by about 54,000 votes, called the election process "rotten and rigged." Kemp denied trying to disenfranchise voters and said he was following the law.

Abrams' organization, Fair Fight Action, is currently suing the Georgia board of elections and secretary of state over charges of voter suppression.