Trump and Clinton spar over Stacey Abrams

AP file.

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AP file.

Clinton: ‘Stacey Abrams should be governor.’

President Donald Trump gave himself credit for Stacey Abrams' defeat in last year's race for Georgia governor. Hillary Clinton said she would have won if not for the nation's "clearest example" of voter suppression.

The two 2016 rivals for the White House traded shots about Georgia’s gubernatorial contest over the weekend, each focusing on Abrams’ narrow loss to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.

Tucked near the end of a 2-hour speech, Trump mocked Abrams on Saturday for losing the race despite attracting some of her party’s biggest heavy-hitters. Abrams, a potential candidate for U.S. Senate, has become a favorite Trump target since she delivered the response to his State of the Union address in January.

"She's their star. And who showed up? Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama and President Obama," Trump said at the Conservative Political Action Conference. "And they campaigned for her, and they worked so hard. And all our man had was Trump. And we kicked their ass."

The former president and Winfrey both stumped for Abrams shortly before the vote, but Michelle Obama never made a campaign appearance. Kemp had many of his own big-name supporters, including Mike Pence and David Perdue. And it was the tightest Georgia gubernatorial contest in decades.

Clinton’s remarks came Sunday in Selma, Ala. at the anniversary of one of the bloodiest moments of the civil rights movement. She said voter suppression influenced her election in 2016 as well as last year’s midterms, calling on voters to “redouble our efforts” for more federal oversight of elections.

“We know, don’t we, that candidates both black and white have lost their races because they have been deprived of the votes they otherwise would have gotten,” said Clinton. “And the clearest example is from next door in Georgia. Stacey Abrams should be governor, leading that state right now."

Abrams and her allies contend that Kemp abused his role as the state's chief elections official to suppress and intimidate voters, many of whom are minorities. He vehemently denies any suggestion that he misused his office, and argued that he executed laws designed to prevent voter fraud.