Stacey Abrams won Georgia’s Democratic primary for governor Tuesday, setting her up for a general election in which she is bidding to become the nation’s first black woman elected governor.
The Associated Press declared Ms. Abrams, a former minority leader of the Georgia state House, the winner in the intraparty contest against Stacey Evans, a former state representative.
She is the first black woman to win a major party nomination for governor anywhere, according to the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University.
Ms. Abrams, in her victory speech to supporters in Atlanta, noted the historic nature of her candidacy. “I am so grateful to the thousands of you in this room and around this state and around the country who have joined me on this drive to history,” she said. “We are writing the next chapter of Georgia’s future where no one is unseen, no one is unheard and no one is uninspired.”
The Republicans are headed to a July runoff election after none of the six candidates running took 50% of the GOP primary vote. The runoff will pit Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle against Brian Kemp, the Georgia secretary of state, according to the AP.
Ms. Abrams ran on a platform of improving education, health care and transit. The 44-year-old Yale-educated lawyer, who has written romance novels in her spare time, has endorsements from Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, two leaders of the Democratic Party’s liberal wing in Washington.
But Ms. Abrams has been dogged by questions about her personal finances, issues Ms. Evans trod gently around but that are likely to receive a full hearing from whichever Republican wins the July runoff.
Ms. Abrams has argued that her financial status makes her more sensitive to the needs of working people. In her most recent disclosure filed with the state, she listed her net worth at about $110,000. She also reported about $174,000 in credit-card and student-loan debt, and about $54,000 in back taxes and penalties to the Internal Revenue Service.
In the Republican contest, Mr. Cagle campaigned on gun rights. He drew national attention for himself when he helped kill a bill that would have provided tax breaks on jet fuel that benefited Delta Air Lines Inc . , metro Atlanta’s largest employer, after it ended discounts for National Rifle Association members following February’s mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla.
His primary opponents sought to portray themselves as the most conservative option. Mr. Kemp aired one TV advertisement in which he pledged to catch and deport undocumented immigrants using his own pickup truck.
Another Republican candidate, state Sen. Michael Williams, campaigned using a retrofitted school bus he called a “deportation bus.” Mr. Williams placed fifth in the Republican primary.
Mr. Cagle has raised more campaign funds than his Republican and Democratic rivals. As of March 31, he had raised $6.8 million, according to filings with the Georgia Government Transparency and Finance Commission. Mr. Kemp, the secretary of state, raised about $2.9 million during the same period. Democrat Ms. Abrams raised $3.3 million.
Write to Reid J. Epstein at email@example.com
Appeared in the May 23, 2018, print edition as ‘Georgia Democrats Pick Nominee.’