Democrat Stacey Abrams, riding on a wave of attention following her delivery of her party’s response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, has remained in the spotlight as she waits to announce what race she’ll run in next. Some are even suggesting the presidency, but a writer who analyzed that prospect says it would be a different terrain than the one she faced when she came close to winning Georgia’s race for governor. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Stacey Abrams on White House bid: It’s ‘definitely on the table’ 

Stacey Abrams raised the possibility of a White House run Monday in a series of social media posts and public remarks, saying that she once thought the soonest she could campaign for president was 2028 but that a bid next year is now “definitely on the table.”

Abrams had previously refused to rule out a campaign for president, but her comments Monday made clear she’s considering joining the growing Democratic field to challenge President Donald Trump.

Her stance came in response to reports by national outlets that she ruled out a White House bid during a South by Southwest conference in Austin. In that panel, she talked about a spreadsheet she made years ago that had 2028 as the earliest she could run for president.

“In the spreadsheet, with all the jobs that I wanted to do, 2028 was the earliest I would be ready to stand for president because I would have done the work that I thought necessary to be effective in that job,” she said. 

After the panel, she and her aides moved quickly to counter the narrative that she wasn’t running. Her top aide, Lauren Groh-Wargo, said the remarks referred to her years-old spreadsheet and not her current evaluation of the race. 

“She is taking a look at all options on the table in 2020 and beyond,” she said. 

And Abrams followed up with a tweet about her book, recently re-released in paperback, explores how to be “intentional about plans but flexible enough to adapt.” 

“20 years ago, I never thought I’d be ready to run for POTUS before 2028,” she said in the social media post. “But life comes at you fast - as I shared in Q&A w @Yamiche at @sxsw. Now 2020 is definitely on the table...”

The Democrat is weighing her options after her narrow defeat to Gov. Brian Kemp – a loss that helped elevate her already-soaring national profile. 

She’s set an early April deadline to decide whether to challenge Sen. David Perdue next year, prepare for a 2022 rematch against Kemp or take another step. 

She’s long wanted to be Georgia’s governor, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other top Democrats have heavily recruited her to challenge Perdue, one of Trump’s most fervent allies. 

More recently, some of her allies say her thinking has expanded to include positioning herself as a potential vice presidential running-mate, something that wouldn’t be open to her if she was running for U.S. Senate. 

As for a presidential bid, she hasn’t begun the process of lining up endorsements, hiring droves of operatives and launching flirtation tours in early-voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire. 

Then again, neither has Beto O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman who will soon decide whether to run

Abrams has little incentive to rule out any of her options - White House, Senate or governor – too early. She’s in the middle of a nationwide tour to promote her book and has lined up speaking gigs through the Harry Walker Agency, and the element of mystery adds to the intrigue. 

Still, her allies say not to discount talk of a White House bid. 

Said one: “You don’t kick tires like that for no reason.” 

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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.