This week Stacey Abrams ended her candidacy for the Georgia governorship. She did not concede. That was quite a large portion of her speech. She made it clear that while the race was over, she was not done fighting. Stacey Abrams was one of the national stories of the 2018 Mid-Term election and one that would have been a major news if she had won. No African-American woman has been elected governor of a US state before and for now, that is still an unrealized goal. However, the election of Brian Kemp, who maintained his post as Secretary of State during the election has been mired in controversy stemming from his “cleansing” of the Georgia voter rolls that left many people unnecessarily disenfranchised.
Even the President acknowledged her tenacity in the election. She is now launching a new organization dedicated to stopping this kind of voter suppression and their first act: suing the state of Georgia in federal court over the 2018 election. It seems like this election might not ever be over.
Andrew Gillum also faced a tough recount race on Florida and on Saturday conceded the election again after gaining no more votes in the machine recount. Unfortunately for him, Broward and Palm Beach counties did not enter their new results onto the state website in time for a Thursday deadline to file new results. Many of his votes may have been lost and we will never know. The President called for military and other absentee ballots not to be counted and seemed to be very personally invested in making sure that Rick DeSantis won. The Senate race in that state maybe going to a state-wide hand recount.
Both of these candidates are now national figures with new followings and national attention that can be capitalized on later. Andrew as mayor of Tallahassee and Abrams, as state house majority leader, will continue their good work. It was such a wonderful election story but with a sad ending both for the people of Florida and Georgia and for those that hoped people would strongly move in a progressive direction and repudiate Trump.
However, everyone on the Left should take heart. The fact that either of these highly-qualified candidates came this close to being elected in two very red states says much about what is changing about both places and that should give everyone hope for 2020.