sunny.png
Friday September 20th, 2019 2:23PM

Abrams tells Democrats: Go after Georgia, irregular voters

By The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's Stacey Abrams dove headlong Monday into Democrats' debate over how to win in 2020, urging her party to treat her diversifying state as a key battleground and replicate her effort to bring new minority and younger voters to the polls nationwide rather than chasing white voters lost long ago.

Abrams, who lost the Georgia governor's race by 1.4 percentage points in 2018 but set a state record for Democratic votes, made her case in a letter and strategy memo obtained by The Associated Press and sent to top Democratic presidential candidates, national party committees, key strategists and groups on the left.

"Democrats, let's do better and go big," Abrams wrote, arguing that her historic bid to be the first black female governor in U.S. history wasn't the sole driver of her near-win. "I am not the only candidate who can create a coalition and a strategy to win this state." She added that "any decision less than full investment in Georgia would amount to strategic malpractice" and argued that her 2018 coalition of nonwhites and whites from the cities and suburbs is the blueprint "to compete in the changing landscape of the Sun Belt."

Abrams' assertions seem to be a direct challenge to Democrats who believe the party should have a laser focus on winning back working-class whites who helped President Donald Trump win in states like Michigan and Wisconsin. The Abrams camp sides more with Democrats who want to drive turnout among nonwhites and suburban or urban college-educated whites. Those constituencies could put states like Georgia, North Carolina and Arizona in play while helping in Trump's Upper Midwest footprint.

Georgia has added 2020 emphasis because both of its Senate seats are on the ballot, including a surprise special election because Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson is retiring, along with two competitive suburban Atlanta congressional districts key to determining House control.

Abrams' campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, did not put a price tag on a 2020 campaign in Georgia, but noted the combined Democratic investment in Georgia last year was $42 million, compared to $70 million in Ohio and $32 million in Iowa, where Democrats lost statewide midterm races two years after Hillary Clinton lost to Trump by nearly double-digit margins.

Abrams' play Monday also underscores her mounting influence in the party. She was a rising star in her campaign against now-Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican. After her loss, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York tapped her to deliver Democrats' response to Trump's State of the Union address and tried unsuccessfully to coax her into challenging Republican Sen. David Perdue in 2020.

In recent months, Abrams, 45, has met with at least nine Democratic presidential candidates and launched a drive for voter protection hotlines in 20 states while enjoying speculation that she'll be on any nominee's short list for vice president — particularly if former Vice President Joe Biden, a 76-year-old white man, wins the nomination. Central to Biden's candidacy is his perceived appeal with white moderates and swing voters who voted for Trump in those Midwestern battlegrounds.

In the packet sent Monday, Abrams took pains to say she doesn't want to "diminish the importance or winnability of any state," and the memo, which Groh-Wargo wrote, said Democrats should reject "false choices" between chasing white Obama-Trump voters and Democratic-leaning minorities who are considered unlikely voters.

But the documents laid out the case that Democrats' greatest potential gains are found in the latter groups.

In 2018, Abrams got more than 1.92 million votes, about 45,000 more than Clinton, but 55,000 shy of Kemp's 1.98 million. Republicans had been winning statewide races by about 200,000 votes, with the GOP's presidential totals stabilizing between 2 million and 2.1 million since 2008 while Democratic totals climbed.

The shift is mostly about demographics: Georgia's nonwhite population is growing faster than its native white population. Its electorate is now about one-third African American, a higher proportion than any perennial presidential battleground.

Groh-Wargo wrote that Abrams was able to take advantage because the campaign spent time and money reaching irregular voters. With new registrations since 2018, Groh-Wargo put the number of such voters for 2020 at 1.7 million — more than six times the GOP's typical advantage in Georgia and 30 times larger than Abrams' margin of defeat last year.

The universe of truly persuadable "swing voters" in Georgia, comparatively, is about 150,000, Groh-Wargo said. The campaign spent money targeting those voters, she added, but not nearly as much as traditional campaign tactics would have required for television advertising in the expensive Atlanta market.

Meanwhile, Democrats have narrowed GOP margins with urban and suburban whites through a combination of new residents moving in and some realignment, as in other states, among college-educated white women disenchanted with Trump. Rural whites have moved even more overwhelmingly to Republicans, though Groh-Wargo called it a "myth" that Abrams didn't campaign to rural whites. In aggregate, Groh-Wargo, Abrams still garnered more of the white vote in 2018 than other recent Democrats at the top of the Georgia ticket.

The takeaway in 2020, Groh-Wargo said, is Democrats' messaging, infrastructure, advertising and one-on-one outreach cannot be focused on a narrow universe of swing voters and erstwhile Democrats who aren't coming back.

"Democratic committees, consultants and the media do not factor unlikely voters into their polling, strategy and prognostications," Groh-Wargo said, instead "rel-itigating the prior election as if nothing had changed in the electorate since."

___

Follow Barrow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News, AP Elections - Political Conventions, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Abrams tells Democrats: Go after Georgia, irregular voters
Stacey Abrams is pushing national Democrats to treat Georgia as a 2020 battleground and to follow her 2018 strategy nationwide by expanding the Democratic electorate
3:17PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Billy Crudup among readers for tribute to DeLillo classic
One of the classic works of literary baseball writing, Don DeLillo's "Pafko at the Wall," will get a celebrity reading next month at the 92nd Street Y in New York City
3:14PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Trump slams John Legend for not helping with justice reform
President Donald Trump is criticizing musician John Legend for not playing a role in passing criminal justice reform following a TV special on the subject in which the star appeared
3:02PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Afghan peace effort in disarray after Trump ends talks
President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to cancel a secret negotiation with the Taliban and Afghan leaders has thrown the peace process into disarray
2:31PM ( 51 minutes ago )
End of an era: UK House Speaker John Bercow to step down
A colorful era in British parliamentary history is coming to a close with Speaker of the House John Bercow's abrupt announcement Monday that he will leave his influential post by the end of October
2:13PM ( 1 hour ago )
Democrats press Trump to intervene on background check bill
Congressional Democrats are pressing President Donald Trump to intervene with Senate Republicans and demand passage of a bipartisan bill to expand background checks for gun purchases
2:06PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Plan for Taliban meeting latest bold Trump gamble to unravel
Trump's weekend tweet canceling secret meetings at Camp David with the Taliban and Afghan leaders is the latest example of a president willing to take a big risk in pursuit of a foreign policy victory only to see it dashed
6:20AM ( 9 hours ago )
Harris seeks end to executions, cash bail, private prisons
In criminal justice plan, Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris calls for abolishing death penalty, ending cash bail, eliminating mandatory minimum sentencing
6:10AM ( 9 hours ago )
Ex-SC Gov. Sanford adds name to GOP long shots against Trump
Mark Sanford, the ex-South Carolina governor and congressman, is making a long shot Republican challenge to President Donald Trump, and aiming to put his Appalachian trail travails behind him for good as he tries to navigate a path to the presidency
5:13AM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Elections
Sanford's 2020 challenge to Trump called 'vanity project'
Mark Sanford, the ex-South Carolina governor and congressman, is making a longshot Republican challenge to President Donald Trump, and aiming to put his Appalachian trail travails behind him for good as he tries to navigate a path to the presidency
1:33PM ( 1 day ago )
Ex-SC Gov. Mark Sanford to challenge Trump in primary
Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina governor and congressman, has decided to launch a longshot Republican challenge to President Donald Trump
12:15PM ( 1 day ago )
Biden in lead, but does campaign have enthusiasm to keep it?
Joe Biden struggles to inspire public support to back up his front-runner status in the Democratic presidential race
11:41AM ( 1 day ago )
General Election News
AP Explains: How US-Taliban talks collapsed on Afghanistan
AP Explains: How US-Taliban talks collapsed on Afghanistan and ending America's longest war
7:12AM ( 1 day ago )
SC GOP scraps 2020 presidential primary; others may follow
Republican leaders in South Carolina have voted to scrap their presidential primary in 2020, while party officials in Kansas and Nevada are deciding later Saturday whether to follow suit with their nominating contests
12:17PM ( 2 days ago )
State Republican parties mull canceling primaries, caucuses
Republicans in South Carolina, Kansas and Nevada have scheduled meetings Saturday to decide whether to scrap presidential preference contests before the 2020 election
11:03AM ( 2 days ago )
General Presidential Election News
As campaign enters new phase, New Hampshire gets spotlight
Voters and activists are weathering a political landscape in which New Hampshire's penchant to surprise in presidential primaries may conflict with the history and neighboring advantage some contenders have in the large Democratic race
4:30AM ( 3 days ago )
Analysis: Black votes will define electability for Democrats
Analysis: No conversation about electability in 2020 without black voters
2:19PM ( 4 days ago )
False claims blur line between mass shootings, 2020 politics
False claims following mass shootings are early signs of online mischief ahead of 2020 election
1:38PM ( 4 days ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
Ex-Starbucks CEO Schultz rules out independent 2020 bid
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says he's no longer considering an independent presidential bid
6:54AM ( 3 days ago )
Kennedy stumps for Warren as he weighs challenging her ally
Kennedy touts history with Warren as he mulls challenging Markey
9:07PM ( 3 days ago )
O'Rourke calls for mandatory buyback of AK-47, AR-15 rifles
Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke says a mandatory government buyback program for AK-47 and AR-15 rifles is needed because other gun control measures don't do enough to remove weapons already on the streets
8:36PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Billy Crudup among readers for tribute to DeLillo classic
One of the classic works of literary baseball writing, Don DeLillo's "Pafko at the Wall," will get a celebrity reading next month at the 92nd Street Y in New York City
3:14PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Out of time: NFL tells Beckham not to wear watch in games
NFL speaks with Browns star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. about wearing a watch during games. Flashy, fashionable wide receiver sported expensive one Sunday
2:52PM ( 31 minutes ago )
General: US faces 'Sputnik moment' in space race competition
A top general says the U.S. has reached a new Sputnik moment and that the military must act to keep the country competitive in space
2:51PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Afghans brace for fresh violence after US-Taliban talks halt
Afghans are bracing for a possible new wave of Taliban violence after President Donald Trump abruptly broke off nearly a year of talks with the insurgent group just when a deal to end America's longest war seemed to be at hand
2:49PM ( 33 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump says US-Taliban peace talks are 'dead'
President Donald Trump says U.S. talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan are "dead" after they collapsed last week
2:48PM ( 34 minutes ago )