By Aya Elamroussi, Special to the AFRO
History was made May 22 when Stacey Abrams won the Democratic primary election in the state of Georgia. She is the first Black woman to win a major party nomination for governor in the U.S. If she wins in November, she will be the first Black female governor.
“Everyone who believed that a little Black girl who sometimes had to go without lights or running water – who grew up to become the first woman to lead in the Georgia General Assembly – could become the first woman gubernatorial nominee from either party in Georgia’s history,” Abrams said in a statement after her Tuesday night win.
Stacy Abrams of Georgia is the first Black woman to win a major party nomination for governor in the United States. If elected she will be the first Black female governor in U.S. history. (Courtesy photo)
Abrams was the first woman to lead a party in the Georgia General Assembly in 2010 and the first African-American to lead in the House of Representatives, according to Abrams’ campaign biography. She also founded the New Georgia Project, which, submitted more than 200,000 registrations for voters of color between 2014 and 2016, her biography said.
Now, she’s on her way to the midterm elections on Nov. 6. “As an African-American woman, I will be doing something no one else has done,” Abrams told CNN before Tuesday’s election.
It remains unclear who Abrams will face in November. The Republican candidate will be decided by an election on July 24.
While her track record shows has a lot of barrier breaking “firsts”, her November win will not be easy. Democrats have had little success in achieving statewide support from Georgia’s conservative-leaning Whites. African American Democrats have held powerful state offices, but every governor position in Georgia has been held by a White male.
Abrams is unlikely to try to gain support from rural Whites who have abandoned the Democratic Party, the New York Times reported. Instead, she is aiming to harness political support from young, non-White Georgians, the Times said.
“Tonight, communities that are so often overlooked – whose values are never voiced – stood with us to say: Ours is the Georgia of tomorrow,” Abrams said after her win. “A state where diversity is a strength. A state where progress is more than possible. A state where everyone has the freedom and opportunity to thrive. A state where equal opportunity is our truth, not their buzzwords.”
Advisers to the Senate’s two Black senators, Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey, are prioritizing Abram’s campaign for the fall, the Times said.
In the past, voters have elected only two Black governors: Douglas Wilder in Virginia in 1989 and Deval Patrick in Massachusetts in 2006 and again in 2010.
As a Black woman, Abrams race and gender may face difficulty in an arena dominated by White men. But Abrams said she believes in the state of Georgia.
“Tonight’s victory was only the beginning. The road to November will be long and tough, but the next step is one we take together.”