Abrams targets Black churchgoers during campaign stops for McAuliffe in Virginia

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams urged Black churchgoers in Virginia to turn out for former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) in his bid for a second term as chief of the Old Dominion during campaign stops on Sunday.

Abrams visited three Black churches in Norfolk, then joined McAuliffe for a rally outside an early voting station, where she urged Virginians to cast their ballots in a race that many experts are saying could serve as a preview of next year’s midterm elections.

“What you say in 2021 will show the world who we are in 2022 and 2024 and beyond,” Abrams said during one of the campaign stops, according to The Associated Press.

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Abrams told an audience that when she first got involved in politics, she thought it was wrong to combine politics and church, according to the AP. Later, however, she said her parents told her that the two topics always cross paths.

“Politics is always in the church” Abrams said her mother would tell her. She also said her father would say the Bible is “one of the most intense political texts ever written.”

“I am the daughter of not one, but two pastors,” Abrams told attendees at the Second Calvary Baptist Church.

The pastor of that church, Geoffrey Guns, who was donning a black T-shirt that said “VOTE” on it, told his churchgoers “coming up is a very important election.”

He recited the phrase again, which elicited a loud applause from the audience, who yelled “Amen,” according to the AP.

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The race between McAuliffe and the Republican nominee, Glenn Youngkin, is coming down to the wire, with recent polls showing them neck and neckLast month, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report switched the race from “lean Democratic” to “toss-up.”

Abrams catapulted to the national stage after losing Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial race to Gov. Brian KempBrian KempThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud Stacey Abrams launches campaign for Georgia governor Democrats anxious over Abrams silence on Georgia governor bid MORE (R). She has since emerged as a key figure in the Democratic Party, advocating for voting rights.

She was also largely credited with the pair of Democratic wins in Georgia’s Senate races in January, which flipped the delegation from red to blue and helped the party seize control of the upper chamber with Vice President Harris's tie-breaking vote.

A number of other Democratic bigwigs have made stops in Virginia to stump for McAuliffe, including first lady Jill BidenJill BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud Bidens to attend Kennedy Center Honors following Trumps' absence The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump's pre-debate COVID-19 test sparks criticism MORE. Former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaPolitics must accept the reality of multiracial America and disavow racial backlash To empower parents, reinvent schools Senate race in Ohio poses crucial test for Democrats MORE is slated to make an appearance in the Old Dominion this week.

President BidenJoe BidenManchin to vote to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Senate cuts deal to clear government funding bill MORE is planning a visit to Virginia, and Harris is featured in a video that will be shown at 300 churches throughout the state, saying McAuliffe is "the leader Virginia needs at this moment."

During one of her stops in the state on Sunday, Abrams pointed to McAuliffe’s accomplishments from his first term as governor, including boosting funding for education  and ensuring that former felons and others who were nixed from voter rolls were given the right to vote again.

“I know you get tired of being called a bellwether state but I’m going to tell you — as someone from one of those newly purplish states — we’ve got to look to you for wisdom,” Abrams said, according to the AP.