Tuesday 21 August 2018

Lawyer could become first black female US governor

Stacey Abrams, 44, said she wants to widen the electorate by attracting young voters and non-whites who have not been casting ballots.

Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams smiles before speaking to supporters during an election-night watch party in Atlanta (John Bazemore/AP)
Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams smiles before speaking to supporters during an election-night watch party in Atlanta (John Bazemore/AP)

By Bill Barrow, Associated Press

A lawyer from Atlanta may become the first black female governor of a US state after winning the Democrats’ primary in Georgia.

Stacey Abrams’ victory made her the first black nominee and first female nominee for governor of either majority party in the state.

Democrats were set to nominate a woman for governor either way, with Ms Abrams and Stacey Evans battling it out in a pitched primary fight.

But the 44-year-old Ms Abrams stood out in her bid to be the nation’s first African-American woman to lead a state.

The former state General Assembly leader was insistent that the way to dent Republican domination in Georgia was not by cautiously pursuing the older white voters who had abandoned Democrats over recent decades.

Rather, she wanted to widen the electorate by attracting young voters and non-whites who had not been casting ballots.

She will test her theory as the underdog against either Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle or Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who will meet in a Republican runoff in July.

Mr Cagle led a five-man Republican field, with Mr Kemp qualifying for the second spot after a campaign that was a sprint to the right on everything from immigration to support for President Donald Trump.

Mr Kemp promised to keep pulling in that direction, with Mr Cagle trying to balance the demands of a conservative primary electorate with his support from the business establishment.

The scenario worried some Georgia Republicans who were accustomed to centrist, business-aligned governors who rarely flouted Atlanta-based behemoths like Delta and Coca-Cola.

Some GOP figures worried the GOP gamesmanship on immigration and gay rights, in particular, already had ensured Georgia would not land Amazon’s second headquarters.

Voters also picked nominees in Kentucky, Arkansas and Texas ahead of the November midterms.

Press Association

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