Georgia Democrat Slams Stacey Abrams for 'Candidate Suppression'

Senate candidate Matt Lieberman decries Abrams's efforts to pressure him to drop out

Stacey Abrams
Stacey Abrams / Getty Images
September 24, 2020

A Georgia Democratic Senate candidate accused Stacey Abrams of "candidate suppression" for her efforts to oust him from the race and rally around establishment favorite Raphael Warnock.

In a Twitter thread Thursday afternoon, Matt Lieberman criticized Abrams after she publicly called on him to quit the special election for Sen. Kelly Loeffler's (R., Ga.) seat.

"[Abrams] is a respected leader in the movement to combat voter suppression," Lieberman tweeted. "But on behalf of the 18 candidates in this race not hand-picked by someone in Washington or Atlanta, I have to say this sounds like candidate suppression to me."

Lieberman concluded his lengthy thread by saying he would remain in the race, to the chagrin of Abrams and national Democrats who want to coalesce around Warnock's candidacy. Lieberman is polling in the low double digits, costing Warnock critical support as he tries to finish ahead of either Loeffler or Republican congressman Doug Collins. Since it is a "jungle" election, multiple candidates of both parties will be on the ballot in November, and the top two will advance to a January runoff in the likely event no one reaches 50 percent of the vote.

Lieberman's "candidate suppression" dig was a reference to Abrams's continued insistence she was the victim of voter suppression during her 2018 campaign for governor. She has refused to officially concede she lost the election to Republican Brian Kemp, claiming without evidence he effectively rigged the race as secretary of state. Her narrow defeat catapulted her to national Democratic stardom, but she declined calls to run for president or either of Georgia's U.S. Senate races in 2020.

For her crusades for expanded voting rights, she has been the subject of numerous flattering media profiles, such as a Vogue article headlined, "Can Stacey Abrams Save American Democracy?"

Abrams endorsed Warnock, the pastor of Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, when he entered the race in January. Worried about a potential all-Republican runoff if Warnock finished third, Abrams told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Thursday "we need Matt Lieberman to understand he’s not called for this moment."

But it looks like Lieberman is not going anywhere.

"Either I’m in a statistical dead heat with Warnock or I’m sufficiently far behind not to be a threat," Lieberman told the AJC. "If I end up at 10 percent, I pose no threat whatsoever to Warnock advancing. If I’m at 20 percent, I’m every bit as strong as he is."