“I thought tonight was so important for the South in general, and I think it really speaks to the fact that people really see that Georgia is in play,” Bottoms said to media after the debate.
“And I thought that as the vice president he was able to showcase where he’s been for so many years on the world stage. And it’s increasingly important that people remember that and recognize that his leadership and stability is what we need now.”
“What we know is that Georgia is on everyone’s mind,” former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said before the debate. “We are a battleground state, because we in a decade have closed the gap in a presidential race from eight points to five points in 2016, to my race [with] 1.4 points. What that means is with actual real investment at the presidential level, Georgia is a winnable state.”
Abrams’ failed bid for the governor’s mansion was referenced multiple times by candidates on stage, who claimed Abrams would be governor if voting policies were different, what’s become a commonplace Georgia Democratic talking point.
Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar was one of those. She mentioned it in the context of her proposal to automatically register all 18-year-olds to vote, a policy platform she released this week in Atlanta.
“If we did something like this, if we did something about gerrymandering, and we did something about voter purges and we did something significant of making sure that we don’t have money in politics from the outside, Stacey Abrams would be governor of this state right now,” Klobuchar said to applause from the audience.
“Right here in this great state of Georgia, it was the voter suppression, particularly of African American communities that prevented us from having a Gov. Stacey Abrams right now,” Booker added.
He went on to reference House Bill 481, Georgia’s anti-abortion law, which effectively bans abortion from when cardiac activity is detected in the womb, at roughly six weeks. “This bill is the result of voter suppression,” Booker said.
Gov. Brian Kemp, the former Georgia secretary of state, has repeatedly denied any allegations of voter suppression.
Meanwhile Klobuchar says she would work to codify Roe v. Wade into law. She says President Donald Trump campaigned on overturning the landmark Supreme Court decision.
“So, no surprise that we’re seeing these kinds of laws in Georgia and Alabama, where his allies are passing these bills,” Klobuchar said. “And what we have to remember is that the people are with us.”
Klobuchar cited polling that showed a majority of Georgians supported Roe v. Wade.
Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said he expects his party’s policy proposals to play well in Georgia in 2020.
“Talking about how we make Georgia and America work for every Georgian and every American,” Perez said. “That’s how we win. And I have a lot of optimism here. I wouldn’t have a debate here if I didn’t think we could win in Georgia.”