Political Insider

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Abrams gives herself a deadline to decide on next move 

Stacey Abrams has some major decisions to make before she decides her next political step. And she’s giving herself until the end of March to make up her mind.

In a Monday interview with WABE’s Rose Scott, the Democrat said she intends to take the next three months to “really think about the role that I should play” in politics. And she outlined a trio of criteria to help her come to her decision. 

“My responsibility is to do three things: One, I need to run for office because I’m the best person for the job, not simply because there’s a job that’s open. No. 2, I need to run because I have ideas and the capacity to win the election and do the job well,” she said. 

“And No. 3, I need to make decisions not based on animus or bitterness or sadness, but really based in a pragmatism that says, ‘This is the right thing to do.’ And I’m going to use that calculus and I intend to make a decision about the job I’m going to run for next by the end of March.” 

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Her remarks echoed what Abrams’ allies have long repeated as talk swirls about whether she would challenge U.S. Sen. David Perdue in 2020: That politicians aren’t fungible and can’t be squeezed to run for any office just because it’s on the ballot. 

That doesn’t mean she won’t run for the seat; she’s been aggressively lobbied by state and national Democratic figures to jump in the race. That does mean that she’ll weigh her options, as well as Perdue’s strengths and vulnerabilities, as she assesses her next step. 

A half-dozen prominent Democrats are also considering a bid against Perdue, but the field is essentially frozen as Abrams makes up her mind. No high-profile Democrat wants to step on her toes, and several potential contenders have openly called for her to run for the seat. 

Her 2018 campaign against Republican Gov.-elect Brian Kemp afforded her those options. She became a national political figure as she earned more votes than any other Democrat in state history; Kemp outdid her by driving out conservative support to sky-high levels in rural Georgia

She has since launched the Fair Fight Action voting rights group, which promptly filed a sweeping lawsuit challenging the state’s electoral policies after the election. She’s also emerged as the party’s de facto leader, a queenmaker in Georgia Democratic circles whose top allies are set to take prominent roles

Even if she decides to take on Perdue or hold her fire until 2022, she may yet have other options. Her name has been mentioned in the same breath as White House contenders, and she may yet emerge on vice presidential shortlists. 

What is more certain is that Georgia Democrats will soon have the answer to one of their most pressing questions: What will Abrams do? 

 

About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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