Two of the state’s most prominent Democrats called on their national party Saturday for a greater focus on Georgia to help win a pair of key races.
Speaking on the final day of the Democratic National Committee’s meeting in downtown Atlanta, Mayor Kasim Reed urged renewed focus on minority voter registration heading into the November elections. And state House of Representatives Democratic leader Stacey Abrams, of Atlanta, received a standing ovation when she made a direct plea to the DNC to spend more on Georgia races.
“We are a cheap state … A couple million dollars changes everything down here,” said Abrams, the keynote speaker during the DNC’s general session. “Invest in the South and you will see new and you will see different and you will see better.”
Georgia is the subject of increasing national interest due to hotly contested races for U.S. Senate and governor. Democrat Michelle Nunn is challenging Republican David Perdue for an open Senate seat left by retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Jason Carter is battling incumbent Republican Gov. Nathan Deal for the state’s top job.
Abrams’ call comes as Nunn is being outspent 4-to-1 by outside groups, while Carter has had little help from national groups.
Reed, who gave introductory remarks during the afternoon meeting, said minority voter registration is critical to success in November.
“If we flip Georgia, can you imagine what will happen to the rest of the United States?” Reed said.
Reed, who sits on the DNC’s executive committee, has openly supported Nunn’s bid, but so far the mayor has stopped short of directly endorsing Carter.
“I happen to believe we have an opportunity right here and right now in Georgia to make sure Democrats hold the majority in the United States Senate with Michelle Nunn,” Reed said, later adding: “Jason Carter is fighting hard as well, and so the decision to bring the DNC to Atlanta I believe is appropriate right here, right now.”
DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said 2012 election results in Georgia revealed an opportunity for Democratic growth. President Barack Obama lost by single digits in the state that year without investing heavily in voter turnout, she said.
“We saw that as a real opportunity and we’re building off that opportunity,” she said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Wins in Georgia’s mid-term elections are key to the DNC gaining a foothold in the largely red state ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
“Make no mistake, Democrats are competing to win in Georgia,” Wasserman Schultz said. “We have Georgia on our minds. “
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