NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Georgia’s Stacey Abrams is willing to meet with any candidate running for president in 2020, but warned she has two ground rules before she starts meeting with the wide range of Democratic hopefuls.
“My two requirements,” Abrams said Tuesday at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. “One, you have to tell me what you’re going to do about voter suppression. And two, you have to believe Georgia is a swing state.”
The 45-year-old Abrams has become a rising national star in the months after being defeated in the Georgia governor’s race last year. She is being heavily recruited to run for Senate, contemplating another campaign for governor and even considering making a presidential bid herself though people close to Abrams say she is more likely to pursue a Senate campaign.
Most recently, Abrams and former Vice President Joe Biden met privately last week in Washington as he gets closer to deciding whether he’ll run for a third time for president.
On Tuesday, however, Abrams didn’t reveal much about her next political move and didn’t specifically mention any of the current candidates. She only briefly talked about President Donald Trump, saying she doesn’t hope he fails as president but does hope he’ll fail in his re-election campaign.
Instead, she said she’s open to being flexible to all options but her current focus is addressing voter suppression, which she argues significantly hindered her 2018 gubernatorial bid.
“I don’t concede that I lost, I concede I’m not the governor of Georgia,” Abrams said.
Abrams didn’t end her bid to be the first black female state governor in U.S. history until 10 days after the election after coming about 60,000 votes short. Shortly thereafter, a political organization backed by Abrams filed a federal lawsuit challenging the way Georgia’s elections are run, alleging state election officials “grossly mismanaged” the November election in a way that particularly deprived low-income people and people of color of their right to vote. The suit is currently making its way through the courts.
“I feel very comfortable saying that this election was not fair, and not only was it not fair, it was not accurate,” Abrams said.
Abrams’ popularity has given Democratic leaders hope that should she run for Senate, her energy could potentially flip a Republican-held seat in 2020 in a state also expected to become a presidential battleground.
“There are no swing states once you leave North Carolina until you get to Florida,” she said. “We have to be part of the national conversation, because the more we are excluded from the conversation the less our issues are addressed. To me Georgia is having a moment where we can assert our needs and also our capacity on the national scale.”