Former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams announced Tuesday that she would not launch a 2020 presidential campaign, choosing instead to focus on a new national program aimed at helping Democrats in key states improve their “voter protection operations” ahead of next year’s election.
“There are only two things stopping us in 2020: making sure people have a reason to vote and that they have the right to vote,” Abrams said at the International Union of Painters and Allied Traders General Convention in Las Vegas. “Well, I’ve decided to leave it to a whole bunch of other folks to make sure they have a reason to vote, but I’m here today to announce Fair Fight 2020 to make sure everyone has the right to vote in the United States of America.”
While she’s not planning to run for president in 2020, Abrams told The New York Times Tuesday she would be “honored to be considered by any nominee” as a running mate.
The new program, which was first reported by The Washington Post, will aim to increase voter turnout in battleground states to elect lawmakers “who know what we need to have,” Abrams said Tuesday.
“We are going to have a fair fight in 2020 because I am going to use my energies,” she said. “I’m going to use my energies and my very, very loud voice to raise the money we need to train those across the country in our 20 battleground states to make sure that Donald Trump and the Senate take a hike and we put people in place who know what we need to have in the United States of America for progress to be possible.”
Many Democrats have expressed concern that Republicans will attempt to suppress votes in upcoming elections, and that recent actions – including a 2013 Supreme Court ruling striking down key parts of the Voting Rights Act, increased Republican gerrymandering of congressional districts and efforts to impose tough requirements on ex-felons who have recently been given the ability to vote – could have the effect of disenfranchising minority voters.
Brian Kemp, Abrams’ Republican opponent in last year’s gubernatorial race, oversaw Georgia’s election as secretary of state. He promoted and enforced some of the nation’s most restrictive voting laws and was accused repeatedly before and during the campaign of seeking to suppress the minority vote. He pushed back on such charges, saying he was enforcing election law.
Drawing on the 2018 race, Abrams said, “We’re going to have a fair fight in 2020 because my mission is to make certain that no one has to go through in 2020 what we went through in 2018.”
Abrams’ effort will target battleground states with “voter protection teams” that will “protect the right to vote,” according to the Fair Fight 2020 website. “We’re going to train folks to protect the right to vote, to ensure that every ballot gets counted, to make sure that there’s a hotline in each state so that when the new law shows up people know what to do,” she said Tuesday.
According to The Post, the initiative will target the Midwest and Southeast as well as Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi, three states that have gubernatorial elections this year, and is expected to cost between $4 million and $5 million. Most of the program will be operated by Fair Fight PAC, the paper said.
“We will have a fair fight in 2020,” Abrams said Tuesday. “And then we’re on, on and on.”