Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Democrat who narrowly lost her race for governor in 2018, met Friday with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, who is trying to recruit her to run for the Senate next year, according to two people with knowledge of the meeting.

Georgia has been a reliably Republican state, but shifting demographics there have convinced Democrats that they have a chance of winning a Senate seat. Schumer sees the seat, held by first-term Republican Sen. David Perdue, as a prime opportunity if Abrams were the Democratic candidate.

Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Abrams met in New York City, according to the two people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely discuss the session.

AD

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Abrams’s spokeswoman declined to comment.

The meeting, at least the second between Schumer and Abrams, came as rumors swirled this week that former vice president Joe Biden was considering asking Abrams to be his running mate and would announce their ticket when he declared his candidacy for president, or soon after.

AD

On Friday, a spokesman for Biden dismissed the notion.

“@JoeBiden has an enormous amount of respect for @staceyabrams (it is why he endorsed her!) -- but these rumors about discussions on a pre-cooked ticket are false, plain and simple,” Bill Russo said on Twitter.

Lauren Groh-Wargo, Abrams’s former campaign manager, said earlier this week that Abrams was keeping all options open for 2020 and beyond.

AD

“She has met with over half a dozen presidential contenders to discuss their commitment to voting rights and to investing in Georgia,” Groh-Wargo said.

Then Friday, on Twitter, Groh-Wargo batted back the suggestion that talks between the two were ongoing.

“There was one meeting. No other meetings. Or calls,” she tweeted.

“Abrams continues to keep all options on the table for 2020 and beyond. She has met with over half a dozen presidential contenders to discuss their commitment to voting rights and to investing in Georgia,” Lauren Groh-Wargo, Abrams’s former campaign manager, said.

AD

Then Friday, on Twitter, Groh-Wargo batted back the suggestion that talks between the two were ongoing.

AD

“There was one meeting. No other meetings. Or calls,” she tweeted.

Abrams has said that she would make up her mind about whether to run for the Senate seat by early April, so that other Georgia politicians would have time to organize. Other potential Democratic challengers include Jon Ossoff, who lost a close, expensive special election in 2017 for a suburban Atlanta House seat once been held by former house speaker Newt Gingrich (R); and Teresa Tomlinson, the former mayor of Columbus, Ga., who is seen as a rising star in the state.

Abrams rose to national prominence as the nation’s first African American woman to run on a major ticket for governor. Both Oprah Winfrey and former president Barack Obama campaigned for her in Georgia. Abrams lost to Republican Brian Kemp in one of the closest races in state history, an outcome it took days to finalize.

AD
AD

After her narrow defeat, Schumer selected Abrams to give the Democratic Party’s rebuttal to President Trump’s State of the Union address in February.

Abrams received more votes in the governor’s race than any other Democratic running statewide, including 25 percent of the white vote, a greater share than Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016, and 2012 gubernatorial nominee Jason Carter, grandson of former president Jimmy Carter.

Kemp, the Republican nominee who was endorsed by Trump, drew sharp criticism from Abrams because he refused to step down as secretary of state during the campaign. She called Kemp, who enacted tough voter registration laws and purged more than 1 million voters from the rolls the year before the governor’s race, the “architect of voter suppression.”

AD

Abrams refused to concede. She instead formed a group called Fair Fight Action and filed a lawsuit against state elections officials. She has continued to raise awareness about voter suppression, a cause she has been waging since 2014, when she started a group called the New Georgia Project, which sought to register hundreds of thousands of minorities and young people.

“This is the next battle for our democracy,” she said during her rebuttal to Trump’s speech, “one where all eligible citizens can have their say about the vision we want for our country.”

Paul Kane contributed to this report.

AD
AD