Top Georgia Democrat endorses Republican over Stacey Abrams

Democrat Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams’ already pitifully small chance of winning the race just dipped even lower thanks to an endorsement.

But not an endorsement of her. No. Rather, an endorsement of her opponent, incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp.

What makes the endorsement extraordinary is that it comes from a fellow Democrat, former Rep. Kwanza Hall, who succeeded the late Rep. John Lewis during Georgia’s 5th Congressional District special election in 2020.

He later left office in 2021 and proceeded to make a failed run for lieutenant governor in this year’s primary elections.

“Over the last four years, I’ve witnessed Governor Kemp make tough decisions – ones that weren’t always popular at the time – in unprecedented circumstances,” Hall said in a public statement/endorsement released Friday.

“While we don’t agree on every issue, it’s abundantly clear that Brian Kemp is a man of character, a strong leader, and someone who Georgians can trust to put them and their interests first,” he added.

Hall has reportedly also endorsed Georgia state Sen. Burt Jones for lieutenant governor. Jones is running against Democrat nominee Charlie Bailey. What’s interesting about this is that Bailey was endorsed by Abrams.

Liberal critics say that Hall’s decision to snub both Abrams and Bailey stems from some sort of personal disagreement he has specifically with Abrams.

Regardless of the reason, this comes as another huge blow to Abrams, whose polling numbers against Kemp have been absolutely atrocious.

As of Saturday morning, Kemp was ahead by an average of 8.1 percentage points, according to the polling aggregator RealClearPolitics.

And considering that many polls tend to be biased toward Democrats, this means she’s likely losing by an even bigger margin.

She is, as Jacob Stern put it in The Atlantic this week, one of several “superstar losers” on the left who simply aren’t headed anywhere politically.

But Abrams wasn’t always a loser. Though she lost her first run for office in 2018, at the time she seemed poised to become a Democrat heavyweight.

“Four years ago, Stacey Abrams had the world at her feet. Yes, she had just lost Georgia’s gubernatorial race to Gov. Brian Kemp by fewer than 60,000 votes — but after such an unexpectedly tight contest, she was heralded by the Democratic Party as a promising new leader,” FiveThirtyEight recently noted.

“There was speculation about whether she’d be chosen as Joe Biden’s running mate during his 2020 bid for the presidency (a prospect Abrams welcomed), and she was largely credited for pioneering a new playbook focused on turning out Black voters in Georgia, especially after Biden flipped the state in 2020. Though Biden eventually tapped then-Sen. Kamala Harris of California to share the ticket, Abrams kept her eyes on the governor’s mansion,” according to the news website.

Yet this year she’s “even more of an underdog than she was in 2018.”

But why?

FiveThirtyEight attributes her downfall in part to Kemp’s status as a veritable rockstar who knows how to dial into the issues that voters care about.

“Kemp’s relative popularity as governor is a boon to his candidacy. Plus, in his race against Abrams, he’s played into issues important to Georgians — like the economy and inflation — as a political point to keep him in office. Abrams, meanwhile, has been talking a lot about abortion — and even though a six-week ban on abortion went into effect in July, that issue appears to be less salient for Georgia voters,” the site notes.

Yet she constantly tweets about abortion:

Of course, FiveThirtyEight also acknowledges that “the political environment in 2022 is much different than it was four years ago,” when then-President Donald Trump was in office and elections were motivated by anti-Trump fervor.

Without Trump serving as their foil, Democrats are having to run on their policy positions, and as the polling numbers make clear, the American people aren’t feeling said positions at all.

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Vivek Saxena

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