It wasn’t long ago that if one opened a newspaper, turned on the television or radio, or scrolled social media, one would quite literally be inundated with the name and antics of Stacey Abrams. But where did the robust, lippy, progressive go? And why isn’t anyone suggesting she run for president in the next federal election cycle? It makes one wonder if Abrams has lost her appeal to those on the left.
She is a candidate for governor in the state of Georgia. Still, good or bad, the press has gone eerily quiet, dropping the usual hints, innuendos, and projections and, instead, delivering the driest of news and facts. As a result, the rematch of Abrams versus Gov. Brian Kemp is not nearly as close as in 2018, when Kemp won the squeaker by 55,000 votes. And it appears he’s set to add a few extra voters to his tally this time around.
Stacey Abrams is in trouble.
A recent Monmouth University poll describes the quandary in which Ms. Abrams finds herself: “Kemp has a net positive personal rating of 59% favorable to 39% unfavorable, while Abrams holds a split rating of 47% favorable to 50% unfavorable.”
Money Not Well Spent
Abrams has outraised and outspent her opponent Kemp by a wide margin. According to reports filed with the state ethics commission, Abrams has raked in a whopping $98 million on her second bid for governor to Kemp’s $69 million. But aligning herself as President Joe Biden’s adoring subject is costing support. Georgians surveyed on the gubernatorial race choose jobs, the economy, and the cost of living as the top issue on their minds as they head to the polls. And most believe the pickle they find themselves in — record-breaking inflation, skyrocketing interest rates, gas, and grocery prices — are all the result of this administration’s policy decisions. And that is reflecting poorly on Abrams.
A key demographic in the race, black men, have not backed Abrams. She knows it and has done a few outreach projects to meet and greet potential male black supporters. At an event last summer with a catchy name, “Stacey and the Fellas,” Abrams made a tremendous promise: “If Black men vote for me, I will win Georgia.” But unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case. And it could be that black men – and most other men and women of any color – like what Kemp has done to keep the cars on the road. Not only did the governor suspend gas taxes, but he now has extended that relief at the pump through year-end. As a result, Georgia, on average, has the lowest gas prices in the nation.
Jermaine House, senior communications director of HIT Strategies, shed light on why black guys aren’t gaga over Stacey. “One thing that could explain the marginal drift of Black men to the Republican Party is that they are more likely than Black women to trust the Republicans on the economy.”
Stacey Abrams dismisses the rumor that this particular demographic don’t dig her. During an interview with NPR, Abrams explained her popularity: “There is rarely polling that actually breaks down Black men versus Black women.” But also noted, “Black men tend to be more conservative than Black women. It is always true. And I am polling around the same with Black voters as I did in ‘18.” That election was lost but never conceded by Abrams.
And then there is the orange boogeyman, Donald J. Trump. Perhaps he is the reason folks have soured on Abrams. Georgia spiraled into chaos post-2020. It became a sort of ground zero for recriminations over the result. Then-President Trump wanted the vote-count in Georgia overturned. Kemp did not comply, Trump went a tad nuclear and severed ties, going so far as to say perhaps Abrams would have made a better governor.
But the dust has since settled in the Peach State and Republicans seem solidly behind the man currently in charge.
“I said last month, that some election conspiracists may be nursing a grudge against Kemp for not stepping in to overturn the 2020 result, but they were likely to come home in the end,” said Patrick Murray, director of Monmouth University Polling Institute. “That looks to be the case with the added bonus that Kemp distancing himself from Trump is a plus among some independent voters.”
Now What, Stacey Abrams?
Stacey Abrams is stuck in the red Georgia clay political muck. Support has remained stagnant, whereas Kemp continues to steadily build towards a win. And if Kemp is granted a second term, perhaps Stacey will seek office in a K-street lobbying firm and spread progressive love by enticing Congressional leaders to vote her way. Regardless, no one will be tripping over Abrams in the news. Unless, of course, she refuses to concede – again.