Just four years ago, the state of Georgia was considered a surefire red state. But as results from this year’s election trickle in, early indications suggest the peach state changing colors.
The work of progressive Democrats in the state has blossomed into a prime opportunity for former vice president Joe Biden to challenge Republican control of Georgia. According to Yahoo! Poll projections, Biden had drawn to within less than a percentage point behind President Donald Trump in Georgia’s election, which was still being tallied as late as Thursday afternoon.
The New York Times reports that Biden’s path to the presidency is much more likely than Trump’s after the former vice president flipped Wisconsin and Michigan. Whether or not Biden wins Georgia, political momentum in the state has shifted blue.
Georgia Democratic nominee Jon Ossoff has shrunk the vote tally against Republican Sen. David Perdue to 50%. If Purdue’s lead shrinks more, their race will join a runoff between Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democratic challenger Rev. Raphael Warnock slated for Jan. 5, Forbes reports.
The potential Georgia runoff elections could change the outlook of the Republican’s grip on the Senate majority.
Although the state’s political shift is in part due to changing demographics in metropolises like Atlanta, local political activists like Stacey Abrams are behind the push to organize Democratic supporters and get them to the polls.
When Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris campaigned in Georgia with Barack Obama in the days leading up to the election, it was Abrams who the presidential hopeful tapped to energize the local crowd.
"We know that 10 years ago they wrote off the state of Georgia,” Abrams said Monday before the election. “Since that time, we have been growing, and growing, and growing, and now we’re grown. We are now the blue state we were meant to be.”
Since losing the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race by just 1.4 points, Abrams has said she hopes to one day be president, and was vetted by the Biden campaign as a potential running mate. She also founded Fair Fight, a voting rights organization that registers voters nationally and works against voter suppression.
“Back in 2019, I met with every major candidate who was running for president and I had two messages,” she told Politico. “One, voter suppression is real and it’s one of the reasons that we lost across the country. But two, Georgia is a competitive state and it would be malpractice to not pay attention. Luckily both of those messages broke through.”
Last year, Abrams and former campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo crafted a 16-page document viewed by political pundits as a playbook on strategy and trends that could benefit the Democrats efforts in the state. Promising that Georgia was every bit as competitive as the other swing states, Abrams’ report found that, “[e]ach person who moves to Georgia and votes is almost twice as likely to vote Democratic than Republican."
Remarking on her diligence, congresswoman Pramilia Jayapal said that Black women like Abrams are the backbones of democracy and champions of the people.
“Whatever happens in Georgia, everyone should get on their knees and thank strong Black women like the fearless @staceyabrams,” she tweeted. “This all may come down to Georgia & Arizona.”
Whatever happens in Georgia, everyone should get on their knees and thank strong Black women like the fearless @staceyabrams and so many who slog away without appreciation—and then we should pass real policies that benefit them. This all may come down to Georgia & Arizona.
— Pramila Jayapal (@PramilaJayapal) November 5, 2020
Others say Abrams and the work of local organizers should get the lion‘s share of the credit for turning Georgia blue.
It isn't an accident that Georgia might flip. And it's not just demographic change. It's also Georgia's most prominent Democrat being absolutely committed to democracy itself as her political project, and spending years organizing there. https://t.co/ePh1Yb0Qe5
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) November 5, 2020
Van Jones said on CNN that if the blue wall holds up, the country will have women like Abrams to thank for working to remove Trump from office.
If Biden wins, this party will have been carried across the finish line on the backs of BLACK WOMEN.
Decisions are made by those who show up. RESPECT. pic.twitter.com/wntSe1LokF
— Van Jones (@VanJones68) November 5, 2020
Last week, Abrams appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to talk about the election and her documentary, All In: The Fight For Democracy. Abrams also announced that the state of Georgia is on track to have the largest voter turnout in history.
“We know that this is an election that’s about the voices that have been left behind or left out. And when those voices show up, when they are heard at the polls, we start to see the changes we talk about,” she said.