A screenshot of Stacey Abrams' latest ad.

Abrams showcases ‘pragmatic’ side in new TV ad

Trying to present herself as a pragmatic progressive, Democrat Stacey Abrams released a new campaign ad Monday highlighting praise from Republicans to boost her bid for governor. 

As her allies pummel Brian Kemp with attack ads, Abrams’ new 30-second spot invokes Republican Gov. Nathan Deal – the most popular political figure in Georgia – and features glowing quotes from House Speaker David Ralston. 

The ad is reminiscent of TV spots from U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen of Tennessee and other Democrats running in Republican-leaning states. It underscores Abrams’ attempts to appeal to general election voters by emphasizing her work across the aisle. 

The ad focuses on her support for bipartisan proposals such as Deal’s criminal justice initiative and the package of taxes and fees that raised $1 billion for infrastructure improvements. And it’s meant as a tacit rebuttal to Kemp’s claims that she is a “radical” for her progressive views. 

It’s also a reminder that what could be a weakness in an overcharged primary is an asset in a general election. Her Democratic rival, Stacey Evans, torched Abrams earlier this year for her work with Deal and Republicans on high-profile proposals that included an overhaul of the HOPE scholarship

Both candidates are relying on allies to blanket the airwaves with biting negative attacks that focus on their vulnerabilities so their TV messages can stick to more positive themes. 

Kemp’s campaign has recently rolled out sunny campaign ads that veered from his more provocative primary messaging, the latest featuring his wife Marty declaring that he’s “too honest for politics.”

Watch the ad here: 

Here’s the script:

Republican groups from outside Georgia spend millions attacking Stacey Abrams. But Republicans in Georgia say “that doesn’t match her record.” Georgia Republicans call Stacey Abrams a pragmatic leader who engages with the GOP to find solutions. Her balanced view allowed her to reach across the aisle to help Governor Nathan Deal…Pass a billion-dollar transportation bill and comprehensive criminal justice reform. And she stopped the largest tax increase in Georgia history. Both sides agree, Stacey Abrams works to help all of Georgia.

Read more recent AJC stories about the governor’s race:

Georgia GOP assails Abrams for not voting on sex trafficking crackdown 

Georgia’s black women key to Stacey Abrams’ bid for governor  

Kemp demands TV stations pull attack ads 

Business backlash: Why some Georgia firms face political fallout 

In filling another Supreme Court vacancy, Gov. Deal achieves milestone 

Jimmy Carter to hit the campaign trail with Abrams in Plains 

A closer look at the ‘not surprising’ nature of Trump’s Georgia endorsement 

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

About the Author

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