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The Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) reported Thursday that Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams was “struggling to solidify her support” with Black voters ahead of November.
A recent AJC poll found that Abrams has 79% of support from Black voters; however, the outlet reported, “Democrats typically poll at least 10 percentage points higher with Black voters.” Abrams’ support with Black men, according to the AJC, is at 75%.
“That Abrams would need to hold an event designed to garner more support among Black Georgians in the final stretch of her campaign for governor is emblematic of one of the more surprising — and for Abrams, troubling — developments in the race,” the AJC reported.
“I am not a Black man, but I’ve been raised by one,” Abrams said to her supporters at a recent campaign event. “And I am always going to say that if Black men stand with me and vote for me and work with me, we can change the future of Georgia.”
Abrams received heavy support from Black voters in Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial election despite losing to Gov. Brian Kemp, R-GA by 55,000 votes. “If Black men vote for me,” she said at a campaign event in August, “I’ll win Georgia.”
“Black voters we talk to say Stacey Abrams is different and she’s fighting for them,” Lauren Groh-Wargo, Abrams’ campaign manager, told the AJC. “And we know when we talk to them, we’ll win those voters overwhelmingly. But we have to reach them.”
Democrat strategist Howard Franklin said that Abrams’ numbers among Black voters was “not a death sentence” but an “early warning bell.”
“But I think this is probably more a question about how quickly Black men, in particular, start paying attention to this race and come to understand the stakes that are at play for November,” Franklin added, according to the AJC.
July polling showed Kemp, leading Abrams by seven percentage points. The AJC poll released on Tuesday found that Kemp was leading Abrams by eight percentage points.
The same poll found that 54% of likely voters approve of the job Kemp is doing as governor.
“If something isn’t broken, we don’t need to try to fix it. I agree with Kemp’s policies and I like where the state is going,” said John Francois, a Georgia accountant who is among the Black men supporting Kemp, according to the AJC. “It’s not really about Stacey Abrams — it’s more about the governor’s agenda.”
Abrams, who refused to concede the election after losing to Kemp in 2018, said in February that she would “acknowledge the victor” in the November gubernatorial election.
“I will always acknowledge the legal outcome of an election. I have never failed to do that,” Abrams told Axios, adding that she didn’t want the American people to be in a place “where we cannot legitimately question” and criticize systems in order to improve them.