Democrat Stacey Abrams announced Tuesday she would not run for the U.S. Senate in Georgia, despite months of recruiting by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.).
She told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she was honored by the call to challenge Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.) but decided it wasn't a role suited to her abilities.
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"It’s a job. In the hullabaloo of running for office there’s an amnesia about that," she said. "People are interviewing for a job and the responsibility is to think through that job. And you have to think about what it’s like in the worst day of that job. The Senate is a great institution. But, for me, it’s not the role that best suits those needs."
Abrams also released a video announcement saying that while she wouldn't run, she would do all in her power to see Perdue defeated in 2020.
"Georgia deserves a U.S. Senator who sees and understands the needs of all Georgians," she said.
Sources close to Perdue told the Washington Free Beacon this month they were confident about Perdue's re-election chances in 2020, whether Abrams decided to challenge him or not.
It's a blow to Schumer and his Democratic minority, who badly need a pick-up in Georgia to take back the majority. Abrams still has a formidable campaign infrastructure after her run for governor last year. The last Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate in Georgia was former Gov. Zell Miller in 2000; he had been appointed to the position that same year after Republican Sen. Paul Coverdell died.
I am grateful for all the encouragement I received to run for U.S. Senate, and I’m committed to doing everything I can to help elect a Democrat to that seat next year. #gapol pic.twitter.com/5o14BqgqwO
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) April 30, 2019
Abrams did not rule out a bid for the White House in 2020, but there remains a strong chance she will pass it up and prepare for another run at the Georgia governorship in 2022. Abrams is still smarting over a narrow loss to Republican Brian Kemp, and she has repeatedly insisted he won the race through systemic voter suppression. She refused to officially concede the race and has even said she effectively "won" the election.
Several news sites have shown her complaints aren't borne out by the facts, but that hasn't prevented Abrams from becoming a Democratic star. She delivered the official party response to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address in February, and she has made appearances around the country and on national television to promote her latest book.
Abrams has fought for Georgia voting reforms since her loss and told supporters that suppression was "rampant" in the United States.
Since losing to Kemp, Abrams saw her favorability rating decline and unfavorability rating rise in Georgia, an unusual trend for a politician not holding office. AJC polling showed her with a 45-percent unfavorability rating in Georgia this month, six points higher than in January and a whopping 20 points higher than Perdue in the same survey.