- Stacey Abrams called Brian Kemp a “failed leader” during a Thursday appearance on MSNBC.
- Abrams on Wednesday announced that she would run for Georgia governor in 2022.
- She has long clashed with Kemp over voting rights in the politically-competitive Southern state.
Stacey Abrams, fresh off the announcement that she would run to become Georgia’s next governor in 2022, on Thursday blasted her onetime opponent, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, as a “failed leader.”
During an appearance on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Abrams, the former minority leader in the Georgia House of Representatives and longtime voting-rights activist who narrowly lost the 2018 gubernatorial race, said that she’s running to lead the state once again because she wants to see its government work for everyone.
“I believe we have the capacity to be an extraordinary place for families to grow — for people to succeed and thrive — and I think we have a failed leader who is currently occupying the office,” she said.
She continued: “My mission is service. To serve people you have to care about them. You have to care about all of them. I’ve shown that in the three years since the last election, I’ve spent my time doing what I can do serve Georgia.”
Abrams then pointed to her work in expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines and relieving the medical debt of roughly 108,000 people in Georgia, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, as well as aiding in sending goods to food banks.
She continued: “I’ve tried in every way possible to serve the people of Georgia. But the best way to serve Georgia, in my estimation, is to run for governor and to take that job and do with it what we can. And that is serve every Georgian and create one Georgia.”
In 2018, Abrams became the first Black female nominee from a major political party to run for governor in US history.
Kemp, who during the 2018 campaign was the Secretary of State overseeing elections, ran close with Abrams in the polls throughout the entire gubernatorial race.
In the end, Kemp narrowly defeated Abrams by a 50.2%-48.8% margin, or 1.4 percentage points.
The Democratic candidate — who clashed with Kemp over his role in purging voters from the rolls in his prior position — has long contended that the process did not serve Georgia voters well.
While Abrams conceded that she would not be moving into the Governor’s Mansion shortly after the 2018 election, she excoriated Kemp for remaining in his elected position while simultaneously running for the state’s highest office.
“To watch an elected official who claims to represent the people in this state baldly pin his hopes for election on suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote has been truly appalling,” she said at the time.
On Wednesday, Kemp blasted his former opponent’s entry into the race, tweeting that if Abrams was at the helm of state government, “Georgia would have shut down” and “students would have been barred from their classrooms,” a reference to COVID-19 restrictions that most Republican governors have vehemently opposed.
However, Abrams could potentially face a Republican challenger other than Kemp next year.
Due to the governor’s refusal to help then-President Donald Trump overturn now-President Joe Biden’s electoral victory in the state last year, he has become persona non grata among many conservatives.
According to multiple reports, Trump has sought to coax former Sen. David Perdue into the gubernatorial race in what could become an expensive and highly-divisive GOP primary.