Georgia’s primary elections made history Tuesday night.
Democrat Stacey Abrams is the country’s first black, female candidate to win a major party nomination for governor. The former Georgia House minority leader is also the state’s first female gubernatorial candidate.
Despite those achievements, Abrams now enters a general election where she’s the underdog. In November, she’ll face either Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle or Secretary of State Brian Kemp. The two Republicans are headed for a July runoff.
When she addressed supporters Tuesday, Abrams admitted the race would be tough. But she seemed determined to beat the odds.
“We must remember that we’re in the state where the red clay gives life to generations of dreamers,” Abrams said. “The state where Martin marched on ballot boxes and challenged a nation’s conscience, a Georgia that gave us the Godfather of Soul, the Queen of the Met, and sent a peanut farmer to the Oval Office.”
Hundreds of supporters came to the Atlanta Sheraton to watch Abrams clinch the nomination, including Erika Mitchell’s family.
“We are supporting her because she’s our Spelman sister, and on top of that she’s the most qualified candidate, and we’re really excited about turning Georgia blue,” Mitchell said.
It’s unclear how “blue” or even “purple” Georgia could turn.
Andra Gillespie, an associate professor of political science at Emory University, says Republicans still have an advantage in Georgia, even though their margins of victory have narrowed recently.
“A win is a win,” Gillespie says. “So, whether you win by 5 points or 7 points or 20 points, Republicans are still winning elections, and based on voting behavior, it looks like there are more Republican voters in the state than Democrats.”
Congratulations, @staceyabrams. It was an honor to run in this historic primary against you. Now it’s time to rally behind our nominee – let’s turn Georgia blue, y’all. #gapol#gadems