Stacey Abrams is about to steer her campaign for governor into a new phase.
Now that she’s formally qualified to run for office, the Democrat is planning a “One Georgia Tour” to begin next week that will take her to small and mid-sized events across the state.
A campaign aide said her tour will include stops in Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Cuthbert, Midway, Thomasville and Warner Robins.
While Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and his GOP rival David Perdue have long been crisscrossing the state, the tour marks Abrams’ first major foray on the campaign trail since she entered the race in December.
Aside from her trek to the state Capitol on Tuesday to qualify, her only other public in-person event involved a union endorsement in January. She’s also conducted sitdown interviews with a range of media outlets, as well as virtual interviews and events.
With no serious primary opponent and two Republicans pummeling each other as much as her, Abrams likely saw little need to ratchet up her rollout.
But the May 24 primaries now stand about 11 weeks away and a general election campaign against Kemp or Perdue looms in November.
She seems certain to use the tour to sharpen the message she outlined on Tuesday, when she highlighted calls to boost funding for education, pass new voting rights protections and expand Medicaid.
The latter demand seems certain to dominate Abrams’ campaign platform, just as did in 2018. She mentioned expanding Medicaid no fewer than six times during her remarks to reporters.
“I’m running to be the leader of all of Georgia, even those who don’t like me, because I believe that expanding Medicaid serves us all,” Abrams said.
“Defending our right to vote serves us all. Ensuring access to education, whether you live in rural communities or in the city, serves us all.”
A Fox News poll gave Gov. Brian Kemp’s campaign reason to smile ahead of David Perdue’s visit to the Capitol to formally sign up to challenge him.
The poll pegged Kemp with a 50-39 lead over Perdue among GOP primary voters, with about 10% undecided.
On the subject of polls, allies of Insurance Commissioner John King leaked an internal poll conducted by Clout Research that shows him in solid position despite a surprise GOP challenge from Patrick Witt.
King led Witt 31-5 in the poll, which also showed roughly two-thirds of voters were undecided – not a particularly stunning number given that the down-ticket office gets minimal political attention.
That could change if Witt, who this week dropped out of a congressional race to challenge King, lands an endorsement from former President Donald Trump. We’re told he’s jockeying aggressively for Trump’s blessing.
Republican Butch Miller is out this morning with two Fox News ads – his first of the campaign – touting his race for lieutenant governor.
One of the 15-second spots shows the veteran state senator speaking to law enforcement:
“Folks ask, are you Butch Miller? The same Butch Miller who stopped radical liberals from defunding the police … and passed the toughest immigration law in the country to crack down on gangs, drugs and human trafficking?
“And I say ... you got that right.”
The second ad is a little more tawdry. We’ll let you see for yourself.
Coca-Cola has suspended its business operations in Russia, joining a growing list of Western corporations pulling out of the country after its invasion of Ukraine.
Atlanta’s Ukrainian community had spent several days pressuring Coke into withdrawing from Russia, the AJC’s Lautaro Grinspan reported.
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston and state Rep. Wes Cantrell also questioned why Coca-Cola continued to do business in Russia.
U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff will meet Thursday with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the woman President Joe Biden has appointed to the Supreme Court.
Ossoff is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold confirmation hearings with Jackson later this month.
On March 21, the hearings will an introduction of Jackson, testimony from the current U.S. Appeals Judge and statements from committee members. Members will question the nominee on March 22 and 23. The American Bar Association and witnesses from other outside groups will weigh in on March 24.
Our AJC colleague Ernie Suggs has all the details of a four-day celebration to mark Ambassador and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young’s 90th birthday.
His birthday is Saturday, March 12, but the festivities will begin today with Young delivering a keynote interdenominational sermon at First Congregational Church in Atlanta.
Thursday, he will lead a “90-minute Walk for Peace and Reconciliation,” from Centennial Olympic Park to the Rodney Cook Sr. Peace Park, where a statue of his likeness will be unveiled.
Friday is the unveiling of an exhibit at Millennium Gate Museum based on the coffee-table book about Young that Suggs wrote. And Saturday is a sold-out birthday gala at the Georgia World Congress Center.