11/17/2018 -- Atlanta, Georgia -- A day after bowing out of the race for governor, former Georgia Gubernatorial Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams speaks to Atlanta Journal Constitution reporters at the WSB-TV headquarters in Atlanta, Saturday, November 17, 2018. In a speech on Friday, Abrams said she accepts that she doesn't have enough votes to beat her opponent Brian Kemp.(ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Photo: Alyssa Pointer
Photo: Alyssa Pointer

Abrams launches ‘thank you’ tour across Georgia 

Stacey Abrams is launching a “thank you” tour across the state to energize her supporters as she considers a potential run for U.S. Senate in 2020. 

The Democrat’s first stop is a Monday visit to a restaurant in Albany, the south Georgia city where Abrams kicked off her campaign for governor in 2017. She’s set to “outline ways to stay involved during the legislative session and beyond,” according to an event posting. 

Abrams has made a string of public appearances and media interviews since her narrow loss to Republican Brian Kemp in November. But this tour is her highest-profile venture since that second-place finish. 

It comes as she debates whether to challenge U.S. Sen. David Perdue in 2020 or prepare for what could be a rematch in 2022 against Kemp. She’s given herself until the end of March to decide.

Some of Abrams’ closest allies believe she’s more likely to run for governor, given her focus on state-based issues, but that she could be recruited to challenge Perdue, a former Fortune 500 chief executive who is a staunch ally of President Donald Trump. 

State and national figures have aggressively lobbied her to run for the seat, as have some potential candidates. Among them is former 6th District candidate Jon Ossoff, who put it bluntly: “I’d like to see Stacey challenge Perdue.”

He’s one of a half-dozen Democrats also considering a bid against Perdue, but the field is essentially frozen as Abrams makes up her mind. No high-profile Democrat wants to step on her toes, and all appear to be waiting until she announces her decision. 

Her 2018 campaign against Kemp afforded her those options. She became a national political figure as she earned more votes than any other Democrat in state history; Kemp outdid her by driving out conservative support to sky-high levels in rural Georgia

Abrams has since launched the Fair Fight Action voting rights group, which promptly filed a sweeping lawsuit challenging the state’s electoral policies and apparently will be financing the trip. 

She’s also emerged as the party’s de facto leader, a queenmaker in Georgia Democratic circles whose top allies are set to take prominent roles. And she recently gave campaign contributions to every state Democratic legislator through her new group’s PAC. 

More: Inside David Perdue’s re-election strategy 

More: Who is running for Senate in Georgia in 2020? 

More: Abrams gives herself a deadline to decide on next move 

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