Georgia Election 2018: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic Primary Former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams won the Democratic nomination for Georgia governor Tuesday. She defeated ex-state Rep. Stacey Evans. Abrams will face the Republican nominee in November in the race to succeed Gov. Nathan Deal. If she wins, she could become the nation's first black female governor.
But to Evans, it was also personal. She had a tumultuous childhood in rural north Georgia and credited the scholarship with setting her on a successful path. She met her husband at the University of Georgia, where she also earned her law degree and built a network that would propel her to public office.
Rather than shirking the policy divide, Abrams at times seemed to welcome it. At one debate, the two clashed over the policy for so long that moderators had to step in and steer the conversation to another topic.
Abrams claimed her negotiating skills helped stave off deeper cuts, and released a trove of emails showing the two worked together on HOPE strategy. She argued that Evans was using "scare tactics" by trying to alarm voters about the depths of the cuts.
But she also sharpened her argument that Evans was too focused on HOPE in a state that had a plethora of problems. She was no single-issue candidate – the two feuded over a range of policies and agreed on even more – but that argument started to seep into the minds of some voters in the final days.
And Abrams also benefited from potentially greater factors – whether it be her “unapologetic progressive” agenda, a string of big-name endorsements, the tug of her historic quest or her grassroots voter mobilization strategy.
Still, her efforts to try to neutralize the HOPE debate seemed to pay dividends. At polling places Tuesday, several Democratic voters echoed Abrams’ attack line over the scholarship, saying Evans was trying to muddy the waters and they wanted a candidate with a broader platform.
Evans, meanwhile, had no apologies about her HOPE-themed run. After a recent debate in which she relentlessly pivoted to the scholarship, Evans was asked whether she risked overplaying her hand. She didn’t hesitate.
“Hope is much more than a scholarship and a grant. It’s access to good jobs. Hope means that no matter where you live you’ll be able to send your kids to a school that lives up to their promise. Hope means that all of us will have access to good paying jobs,” said Evans.
“I don’t think we can talk about hope and opportunity enough.”