In 2018, Stacey Abrams ran for Governor of the State of Georgia. She lost to Republican Brian Kemp. She’s back to try again in 2022, and this time, she will win. A multitude of factors worked against her before, but it is now Kemp that is fighting an uphill battle — especially now that he is being challenged in the primary by David Perdue.
Perdue stands a solid chance of winning the primary and is, at this point, probably a stronger candidate than Kemp, who publicly feuded with Trump during his presidency, despite their ideological similarities. Trump is backing Perdue in the primary. However, just last year, Perdue lost his Senate seat to Jon Ossoff, despite being part of the same family as widely beloved — albeit very much not by me — former Governor Sonny Perdue. His cousin’s past in this post will undoubtedly bolster his appeal for it, but being unable to defend his Senate seat against Ossoff bodes poorly for his electability in the general.
Generally speaking, it is disastrous to the incumbent party when there is a bitterly contested primary. There are exceptions, of course. For instance, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the NY-14 district after primarying Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley. However, this seat is considered safely Democratic — Republicans struggle to come anywhere remotely close to a majority of votes election after election.
All signs point to the primary being bitter. In his announcement video today, Perdue accused Kemp of being responsible for the loss of not just his but Kelly Loeffler’s Senate seat. He depicts himself as the true champion of Republican ideals and the only one who can beat Abrams. While, in a vacuum, this may be true, this division will work against either of their victory.
While the two reactionary right-wing Rambo wannabes are at each other’s throats, Stacey Abrams seemingly will face no serious challenger in the primaries, which is unsurprising, given she has become more of a beloved household name among the state’s liberals in the past few years thanks to her intense efforts to increase voter registration and help get out the vote. Though she was the House Minority Leader of Georgia’s state legislature, that role lacked the level of visibility that her campaigning and subsequent activism gave her.
In general, Georgia is trending in a more liberal direction. Despite being seen by many as a “red state” in the core of the South — where Sherman burned Atlanta in his march to the sea — various factors have ensured this trend. Like many Southern states, it has a large Black populace whose vote is often suppressed — a trend Abrams has worked to help reverse — but largely vote for center-left liberals.
Furthermore, Atlanta has become a major hub for the entertainment industry, which attracts a lot of left-leaning people to the state. Though “Hollywood” is often seen as synonymous with film production, the most popular place for film production in the United States is now the metro Atlanta area. This includes much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.
Georgia also consistently ranks much higher than other Southern states in terms of immigrants with the exception of Florida, which is disproportionately Cubans who fled the Castro regime and lean conservative. The Atlanta area in particular is known for its diversity. The Republican Party’s xenophobia and racism understandably turns off those who want others to have the opportunities they had to try to make a better life here. Stacey’s inclusion of Spanish subtitles in her announcement video reflect her understanding of the importance of being welcoming and accessible to this great state’s immigrant population.
Keep in mind too that Georgia had a Democratic governor as recently as 2003, Roy Barnes, who was by no means a moderate. The Republicans do not have a stranglehold on this office traditionally anyway. The legislature, which favors the more conservative rural areas by awarding them more seats, is more dominated by the GOP, but at-large statewide votes were traditionally not as securely Republican as those exposed to Georgia politics in largely in the 2010s until it went for Biden and elected Warnock and Ossoff.
Those victories were undoubtedly helped in droves by Abrams’s efforts to register voters and get out the vote. Who better to repeat those sorts of successes in 2022 than the one who put in a lot of the legwork last time around. Abrams is clearly capable of energizing voters, to the point of going from being a relative unknown to getting 48.8% of the vote in her first attempt — one which was marred by rampant voter suppression.
While the Georgia Republicans divide themselves over the coming months in the primary between Kemp and Perdue, Abrams now has nearly a year to do what she does best. What was a narrow loss before, given her advantages now, will undoubtedly turn into a relatively easy victory. Obviously, much can change between now and then, but the forecast is overwhelmingly currently in favor of Stacey Abrams. I feel confident saying she will win.