Failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said she would be open to being the running mate for whoever captures the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Following a speech Tuesday in which she announced she would not run for president and would focus instead on voting rights projects, Abrams told the New York Times she "would be honored to be considered by any nominee" as his or her running mate.
"But my responsibility is to focus on the primary," she said. "And that means using the primary as an opportunity to build the apparatus to fight voter suppression. Because in the end, no matter where I fit, no matter which ones of our nominees win, if we haven’t fought this scourge, if we haven't pushed back against Moscow Mitch and his determination to block any legislation that would cure our voting machines, then we are all in a world of trouble."
Abrams previously dismissed speculation that Joe Biden wanted her as his running mate in March, saying "you don't run for second place."
If chosen, she would be the first African-American woman on a major presidential ticket in the country's history. She would be the third woman overall to be the nominee for vice president, following Republican Sarah Palin in 2008 and Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984.
Abrams vaulted to national stardom after she was narrowly defeated by Republican Brian Kemp in 2018 in a bitter governor's race. She has repeatedly said Kemp's victory was illegitimate and called him an architect of voter suppression, at times brazenly saying she "won" the race. Kemp, who was Georgia's secretary of state before becoming governor, won by nearly 55,000 votes.
She told the Times she regretted that she couldn't stop Kemp from rigging the process.
"What I regret every day is that we could not stop [Brian Kemp] from bastardizing this whole process, from denying the franchise to those who had earned it by being Americans and tried to use the right to vote to set the course of their futures," she said. "And I will always be deeply, deeply hurt that we live in a nation that permitted that to happen."
The Republican National Committee responded wryly to her openness to being vice president.
"I’d have to check the constitutionality of being both vice president and governor of Georgia at the same time being that she still has not conceded her 2018 gubernatorial loss," RNC spokesman Steve Guest told the Washington Free Beacon.
While mainstream media outlets have largely reported on but not checked her claims of being cheated, conservative media fact-checks have shown Abrams's claims of illicit voter suppression techniques and malfeasance costing her the election don't hold water. Despite Democrats blasting Donald Trump in 2016 for casting doubt on the election as rigged before he won it, she has maintained an esteemed status in the party.
Abrams appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show on Tuesday, where she discussed her battle for increased voting rights. During the interview, she commented on the end of the decades-old consent decree limiting Republican poll-watching activities, saying the RNC would now intimidate voters of color with impunity.
RNC spokesman Michael Ahrens called the remarks "totally baseless and irresponsible."
"The RNC's job is getting more people to vote, not less. If Abrams actually cared about the integrity of elections, she'd finally concede the governor's race she lost by 55,000 votes. Even liberal election law experts have dismissed her claims as irresponsible and without merit," Ahrens said.