Stacey Abrams to forgo 2020 presidential bid, will focus on voting rights

Stacey Abrams to forgo 2020 presidential bid, will focus on voting rights
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Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Georgia, will not run for president in 2020, instead focusing her efforts on combating voter suppression, according to a person familiar with her plans.

Speaking at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Convention in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Abrams did not explicitly address the possibility of a presidential run. But she made clear that her focus was on expanding Fair Fight, the advocacy group she founded, and fighting voter suppression in 2020.

“We’re going to win. We’re going to win because there are only two things stopping us in 2020: Making sure people have a reason to vote and that they have the right to vote,” Abrams said.

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Abrams emerged as a kind of political rock star in 2018 after she came within 2 points of defeating Republican Brian Kemp in the governor’s race in deep-red Georgia.

Abrams has since raised concerns that alleged voter suppression may have been, at least in part, responsible for her narrow loss to Kemp. Abrams has cited the removal of thousands of people who hadn’t cast ballots in recent elections from the voting rolls, as well as hours-long lines at precincts.

After the election, Abrams focused her attention on Fair Fight Action, the voting rights group she founded. She is expected to expand the group’s efforts into 20 battleground states to combat possible voter suppression ahead of 2020.

Abrams has entertained the possibility of a run for higher office for months. She announced in April that she would not mount a challenge to Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) in 2020, consequently stoking speculation that she could make a run for the White House instead.

The New York Times first reported that she would not launch a bid for the Democratic Party's nomination.

Abrams would have likely faced a tough slog to the Democratic nomination. There are already more than 20 candidates in the race, and many of them have hired top political talent to work on their campaigns. Abrams would have had to assemble a team quickly, especially as the fall campaign season gets underway.

She might still play a role in the presidential race. Abrams’s endorsement is coveted by Democrats, and she has been floated as a potential running mate to the eventual Democratic nominee.

As she spoke to union members on Tuesday, however, Abrams offered no hints as to whether she was eyeing any public office. Instead, she cast herself as more interested in battling institutional irregularities and inequities from the outside.

“My mission is to make certain that no one has to go through in 2020 what I had to go through in 2018,” she said.

-- Updated at 6:01 p.m.