By BILL BARROW, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta lawyer Stacey Abrams has a chance to become the first black female governor in American history on a primary night that ended well for several women seeking office.
Abrams set new historical marks with a primary victory Tuesday that made her the first black nominee and first female nominee for governor of either majority party in Georgia.
Democrats were set to nominate a woman for governor either way, with Stacey Abrams and Stacy Evans battling it out in a pitched primary fight.
But the 44-year-old 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 wasn’t 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 nonwhites who hadn’t been casting ballots.
She will test her theory as the underdog against either Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle or Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who will meet in Republican runoff in July. Cagle led a five-man Republican field, with 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.
Kemp promised to keep pulling in that direction, with 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 wouldn’t land Amazon’s second headquarters.