The Jolt: Democrats predict leaked abortion opinion ‘will elect Stacey and Warnock’

News and analysis from the politics team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia gubernatorial Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams speaks during a campaign rally on March 14, 2022, in Atlanta. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Georgia gubernatorial Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams speaks during a campaign rally on March 14, 2022, in Atlanta. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images/TNS)

After word leaked from Politico Monday night that a draft Supreme Court opinion could strike down Roe v. Wade as soon as June, reaction among Georgia politicos was swift and loud, including predictions from Democrats that it could give them a unifying midterm message.

“If Supreme Court draft is true, it will elect Stacey (Abrams) and re-elect Warnock,” one Democrat texted, calling the potential elimination of a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion “a game changer” in the state’s political landscape.

An AJC poll in January showed about 68% of Georgia voters did not want the court to overturn Roe v. Wade. About 24% of voters think the law should be overturned.

Melita Easters, the executive director of Georgia WIN List, which elects pro-choice Democratic women to office, called the draft decision “more sweeping and devastating than anticipated.”

She predicted that a reversal of Roe would be followed in Georgia by legislation limiting contraception, IVF, and other reproductive decisions for women.

“If the final SCOTUS opinion sticks with the Alito draft language asserting, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” then electing pro-choice women to state legislative seats becomes more important than ever before to all women of child-bearing age and all those who care about them,” she said.

Democratic state Sen. Jen Jordan, who warned men in the General Assembly in 2019, “The women of Georgia will reclaim their rights after they have claimed your seats,” after the state’s six-week abortion ban passed, is now running for state Attorney General.

She said Monday night, “If this decision holds, Georgia is the next battleground for reproductive freedom, and we need an Attorney General who will fight for our right to choose. That’s why I’m running.”

As much as Democrats predicted the decision would rally their supporters in November, Republicans said the same and promised to take Georgia abortion law even further in the future.

“When I’m Governor, Georgia will be the safest place in America for the unborn,” former Sen. David Perdue wrote.

One of your Insiders also published a separate story this morning on the political and legal fallout of the draft opinion, including the detail that some state GOP legislators, including state Sen. Bruce Thompson, had private discussions Monday night trying to pass even stricter limitations on abortion if Roe is struck down – potentially in a special legislative session before the November vote.

Such a move would be permissible if the Supreme Court issues a decision modeled after the draft, said Anthony Kreis, a Georgia State University constitutional law professor. It would also put the issue front and center for Georgia voters ahead of the 2022 elections.

As of Tuesday morning, however, the one high-profile Georgia Democrat we had not heard from on the issue was Stacey Abrams herself, although she’s expected to speak out later Tuesday.


EMILY’s List, a political group focused on electing more pro-choice Democratic women to public office, just happens to be holding its annual conference in Washington today.

State Rep. Bee Nguyen, who is running for secretary of state, will speak this afternoon then accept the Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award at tonight’s gala. Georgia candidate for governor Stacey Abrams, who was the first-ever recipient of the award several years ago, is the keynote speaker.

The leak of the draft Supreme Court ruling, which seems likely to overturn abortion rights and allow Georgia’s “heartbeat bill” to go into effect as soon as June, will likely be on the top of everyone’s minds.


The Politico bombshell overshadowed the other major political story Monday: The $1.5 billion package of incentives that state and local officials offered Rivian in exchange for a $5 billion plant that would create 7,500 jobs.

Greg Bluestein and J. Scott Trubey have a full writeup here, but expect the political fallout to sharpen now that the details of the largest bounty of economic development incentives in state history have emerged.

Former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who opposed the deal, said the bounty of tax breaks was an election-year giveaway for Gov. Brian Kemp.

“How many small businesses in Georgia could be helped with this kind of money?” asked Perdue, who plans a press conference later today near the Rivian site.

We linked up with Greg LeRoy of Good Jobs First, a Washington-based group that generally opposes public subsidies. He said the roughly $197,000 per job means “Georgia taxpayers will never break even on this deal.”

“The only sure thing we can say is that this deal amounts to a large transfer of wealth from Georgia taxpayers to Rivian shareholders,” he added.

Trubey dug deeper into the agreement and found a few more tidbits:

  • The development’s code name was Project Horizon.
  • The agreement has what state officials call one of the strongest “claw back” provisions in the law allowing the state to recoup incentives if Rivian doesn’t live up to promises.
  • Georgia agreed to build a $62.5 million on-site training facility for Rivian, but the manufacturer can purchase it for $100 in 2042 if it has met its job and investment goals.


Another development left in the dust by the abortion news: Former President Donald Trump took part in a tele-rally with David Perdue and predicted that not only would Gov. Brian Kemp lose the November election if he’s the nominee but so would Herschel Walker.

“One of the problems also is if Brian Kemp gets in, I think it’s going to be very, very hard for Herschel Walker to win,” he said.

“Because I don’t believe Republicans are going to go out and vote for Brian Kemp. And if they’re not voting for Brian Kemp, they’re not going to be able to vote for Herschel Walker.”

Perdue agreed: “If we want that Senate race, we have to win this governor’s race.”

No word from Walker’s camp on a Trump-sized headache that won’t go away anytime soon.

Read more here.


Look for the last round of Atlanta Press Club debates later today, including GOP candidates for U.S. Senate, although Herschel Walker won’t be on hand to speak for himself.

Also today: Democratic and Republican candidates for State Schools Superintendent and the D’s and R’s running for Lieutenant Governor.


In case you missed Monday’s debates for Secretary of State, we have reports on the Democratic and Republican debates at

The Insurance Commissioner candidates also debated. Our colleague, Shannon McCaffery, has the breakdown on those candidates, too.


The old guard is roaring for Gov. Brian Kemp. Politico reported that George W. Bush is the “special guest” at a Texas fundraiser for the Georgia governor this month, underscoring " longstanding tensions between Trump and the Bush family.”

VIP tickets are going for $15,200, while the general reception will only set you back $5,000. Not that the Kemp campaign is hurting for money.

Kemp’s team announced Monday that they’d raised $2.7 million in the first quarter and, despite the challenge from David Perdue, still has $10.7 million cash on hand.


Today in Washington:

  • In a week when the House is out and the Senate is hobbled by COVID, we expect the leak of the Supreme Court ruling to be the main focus today, with Republicans likely to celebrate and Democrats just as likely to decry the possible decision,


Stacey Abrams faced a different sort of media gaggle on Monday: About a dozen kids ranging from 6 to 11 years old lined up on a Zoom call to pepper her with questions.

Over about 30 minutes, she received inquiries about school funding, voting laws and the coronavirus pandemic. But it was her method of describing representative government that really stood out.

“If I am a giraffe it’s probably not a good idea to pick a lion as a representative. Because the lion has different interests than me,” she told the kids.

“We want someone who cares about our experiences. I can’t represent everyone in the sense that I haven’t done what everyone else has done, but I’ve seen enough that I care about everyone.”


Attorney General Chris Carr has launched his first television ad of the 2022 campaign season, a little less than a month before the primary election.

In the ad, Carr – who is facing Trump-backed attorney John Gordon in the Republican primary, among others – plays up his conservative bona fides.

“He’s taken on President Biden and Stacey Abrams in court--and won,” a voiceover says, before ending with the tagline: “Attorney General Chris Carr: Tough. Principled. Conservative.”


The Democratic Party of Georgia next week will host its first in-person State Dinner since 2019.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota will serve as the keynote speaker in an address likely to focus on voting rights and Democrats’ efforts to win more statewide offices in Georgia.

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, the party chairwoman, are also on the program. Black Voters Matter Co-Founder LaTosha Brown will receive the Chairwoman’s award.


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