Stacey Abrams’ renowned and decades-long work to transform the electoral landscape in Georgia led to a unique message as she prepared for her second attempt to gain the office of governor from her opponent Brian Kemp.

She didn’t win last time, but she knows how to win this time, insisted Democrats and former workers.

The idea was not a stretch: Abrams, who lost by 1.4% and less than 55,000 votes in his first match, knew she had to squeeze every possible vote out of the communities of color, and she had the experience of building a real power organization in the state through an uprising groups such as New Georgia Project and Fair Fight.

But now, in a predictable, tough race against Kemp, Abrams poll results suggest she broke down at the exact moment fans thought her campaign was going to flex hard-won muscles.

Democrats and activists in Georgia and across the country continue to fear that Abrams may not be able to re-conjure the magic she did last time – and the Democrats did it in 2020 – not necessarily because of Kemp’s strength, but because of the difficulty of getting out of its base.

Abrams’ former adviser said: Newsweek these difficulties arise from a less effective organizational program. In 2018, Abrams had 140 organizers in place; now she has less than 100. And there are reports of a slip with black men, a critical segment of the vote that Abrams must be a strong part of her coalition.

“Stacey can’t win without black and brown voters,” the source says. “Nor can you reach them at the last minute and call them a color voter.”

“Stacey struggles with black men,” the source added. “How do you fight 48 days before the election?”

Pastor Jamal Bryant speaks during Stacey Abrams’ visit to New Black Wall Street Market on September 18, 2022 in Stonecrest, Georgia.
Marcus Ingram / Getty Images

Abrams acknowledges how important black men’s voices are to her campaign.

“If black men vote for me, I will win Georgia,” Abrams said in August during a campaign called “Stacey and the Fellas,” which took place at a Black-owned restaurant in Cobb County, Forks & Flavors.

A month later, on September 11, New York Times columnist Charles Blow wrote an article titled “The Black Male Democrat Voters Problem,” citing poll results showing that black support for Abrams was not as high as it should have been.

“The campaign seems to target black men in particular, considering this deficit,” he wrote.

Two polls on Tuesday showed Abrams heavy losses, with the Marist poll showing her a drop of six points and the Atlanta-Journal Constitution (AJC) poll cut her by eight.

However, political observers noted that the AJC poll was older and more republican than the 2018 electorate. The Abrams campaign and the “combat coalition” of some leading Georgian groups said they had the same problem with the polls in 2018, during a race that turned out to be much closer than expected.

Lauren Groh-Wargo, Abrams campaign manager, tweeted that the poll’s electorate was weighted as if Georgia were an Indiana, and said if it had been conducted in the same manner as in the July poll, Abrams would have been two points behind backs. be a statistical draw.

Abrams’ campaign said Newsweek its organizational model is intentionally different from 2018, taking into account the lessons learned from that race. It was said the team is considering that not every voter opens the door in the middle of the day or answers the phone, so the campaign meets voters where they are through efforts such as a paid relationship program that encourages people to talk to their network about her plans.

He also said that he has 250 community captains across the state who are devoted solely to organizing their communities and getting them to vote for the Abrams.

In addition, the challenge of early voting is asking supporters to pledge to vote in person in the first week of early voting, which begins October 17, which will include digital commitment cards for targeted supporters via email and SMS with direct follow-up.

The field team will ask voters to complete commitment cards, with two million households to be visited in person, and oath cards will be a standard part of campaign events.

Abrams’ campaign said it does not shy away from tough conversations, including in hairdressing salons, in conversations with local well-known black men, and also before conveying its message to non-traditional crowds such as the 85 South Show and Butter ATL, two very large Georgian cultural institutions.

“Our targeted reach should not be seen as a challenge to these communities,” the campaign wrote Newsweek, “but instead as an opportunity to win votes from communities that have not taken part in political talks in Georgia for too long. ‘

But W. Mondale Robinson, who founded the Black Male Voter Project in Georgia and likewise rebukes pollsters for excluding black men from their likely electoral models, said the political problem when it comes to black men he talks to doesn’t start or end. with Abrams.

“Stacey Abrams has no problem with the Negro,” he said Newsweek. “The Democratic Party has a problem with blacks.”

Robinson said the lack of investment over the years – and not prioritizing issues black men cared about, such as jobs, criminal justice reform, and the right to vote – came together to create the problem. While he doesn’t see black men leaving Democrats to join the Republican Party, the net effect is the same.

“Black men have an alternative,” he said, “that is waiting out the elections.”

He cited Terry McAuliffe’s failed campaign of re-election in Virginia, where he lost to Glenn Youngkin as an example of a candidate who failed to engage his base and paid the price.

Kemp also looks to Virginia, not only to find similar Republican success, but also to expand the map in November.

He takes Youngkin to the suburbs of Atlanta, which the Democrats took control for the first time in decades in 2016, hoping to wipe out some of the support Abrams needs in places like Gwinnett, Cobb and Henry counties.

kemp youngkin
The flyer promotes an election rally in which Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin will join Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on September 27.
Courtesy of Brian Kemp’s campaign

“The reality is that many of the suburban voters who voted Democrats in the last two cycles have been Republican throughout their lives,” said veteran Republican consultant Chip Lake, stressing that these voters are concerned about the economy and higher food and food prices. gas.

“Yes, we are a purple state,” added Lake, “but we are a center-right state and the national democrats are not where Georgia’s voters are.”

Democrats hope their reaching out to voters of color, including AAPI (Americans and Pacific Islander), Latinos and Black voters, will be enough in Georgia before November. They also want to establish a link between Kempa’s refusal to extend Medicaid using available federal funds and how it disproportionately harms black and Latin voters in the state.

“Out-of-pocket spending on dr*gs and medical care, Hispanic families are very hard hit,” said Mi Familia Vota Georgia State Director Jesus Rubio.

Kemp’s partial expansion of Medicaid would reach 50,000 new people if they meet job or vocational training requirements, but an estimated 500,000 people could get insurance if Kemp accepted the federal government’s offer.

A former Abrams employee said the campaign is still catching up with the motivation of the base voters it will need to win in November.

“They are late in organizing the communities we need to win,” says the source. “They don’t necessarily vote for your opponent – they just won’t show up.”

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