Abrams goes to DC to discuss potential 2020 Senate bid

Stacey Abrams may run for U.S. Senate. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Stacey Abrams may run for U.S. Senate. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Stacey Abrams met with leading Senate Democrats in Washington this week to discuss a potential 2020 challenge to U.S. Sen. David Perdue as she weighs her next step.

The Democrat met separately on Thursday with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Cortez Masto, who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, according to an aide.

Abrams cemented her status as the state's most prominent Democrat during her campaign for governor against Republican Brian Kemp. After her narrow defeat, she refused to formally concede defeat and made clear she would seek another political office.

She's given herself until the end of March to decide whether to run against Perdue, one of Donald Trump's staunchest allies, or prepare for what could be a rematch in 2022 against Kemp. In a Monday interview on WABE, she outlined three criteria to help make that decision.

“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.’”

Some of Abrams’ closest allies believe she’s more likely to run for governor, given her focus on state-based issues, but that she could be recruited to challenge Perdue, a former Fortune 500 chief executive who is seeking a second term.

That's well underway: State and national figures have aggressively lobbied her to run for the seat, as have some potential candidates. Among them is former 6th District candidate Jon Ossoff, who put it bluntly: "I'd like to see Stacey challenge Perdue."

He's one of a half-dozen Democrats 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 all appear to be waiting until she announces her decision in late March.

Her 2018 campaign against 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. She's emerged as the party's de facto leader, a queenmaker in Georgia Democratic circles whose top allies are set to take prominent roles.

And this week, she made two decisions that aim to maintain her high profile and keep her supporters engaged. She endorsed state Sen. Nikema Williams' bid to head the state party. And she gave campaign contributions to every state Democratic legislator through her new group's PAC.

More: Inside David Perdue’s re-election strategy

More: Who is running for Senate in Georgia in 2020?

More: Abrams gives herself a deadline to decide on next move