Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter smiles during a book signing event for his new book 'Faith: A Journey For All' at Barnes & Noble bookstore in Midtown Manhattan, March 26, 2018 in New York City. Carter, 93, has been a prolific author since leaving office in 1981, publishing dozens of books. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

That makes three: Carter is latest prez to endorse in Georgia gov race 

Another former president has backed Democrat Stacey Abrams’ campaign for Georgia governor.

Weeks after Barack Obama gave Abrams his full-throated support, Georgia native Jimmy Carter called the Democrat the “right leader for our changing state who has consistently championed the values we share.” 

“Stacey Abrams' experience, vision, and proven track record of building consensus across party lines are beyond compare, and I will work as hard as I can to elect her in November,” said Carter. “With Stacey Abrams in the governor's mansion, our state will be in good hands and the Georgia of tomorrow will be bright.”

What You Need To Know: Stacey Abrams

He’s the third U.S. president to weigh in on the nationally-watched race between Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp, a contest that’s already being seen as a warmup to the 2020 race for the White House. 

Obama lined up behind Abrams earlier this month, and President Donald Trump’s support for Kemp in July powered the secretary of state to a dominating runoff victory. A late visit from Vice President Mike Pence helped the seal deal.

The latest presidential endorsement raises the possibility that all three figures could hit the campaign trail in Georgia to energize their party’s voters in the final stretch of the race. 

Carter, a native of Plains and former Georgia governor himself, is understandably closer to this contest than the other two presidents. 

He released a statement last August saying he won’t choose a side in the Democratic primary with former state Rep. Stacey Evans after he called Abrams a “remarkable” politician who “knows how to reach out to both sides” at a fundraising dinner. 

Carter’s grandson Jason, the party’s 2014 nominee, also endorsed Abrams after staying on the sidelines during the primary. Virtually all of the state party’s leading figures – and many of her party’s 2020 presidential hopefuls – have publicly backed Abrams. 

So have Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the two leading Democrats in the 2016 contest. (Ex-President Bill Clinton has yet to weigh in on the race, though one of his top advisers backed Evans in the primary.)

She hopes her progressive policies will mobilize a legion of left-leaning voters, many of them minorities, who rarely cast ballots. Since locking up her primary win over Evans, she’s traveled the state highlighting what she calls “solvable problems” and touting her education and economic plan.

Kemp has stepped up his appeal to the party’s conservative base by highlighting his anti-gang crackdown and pledge to cap state spending. He’s also consolidated GOP support, including a weekend meeting with state legislators aimed at unifying behind his candidacy. 

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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.