WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Democrat Stacey Abrams made her first 2022 campaign tour through Georgia Monday. The Democrat may get a rematch this fall with Gov. Brian Kemp – if Kemp can get past GOP challenger David Perdue.
Abrams spent much of the day south of Macon and Columbus – her first stops in what will be a roughly eight-month-long campaign for governor.
She will have the support of some Georgia newcomers like Kayla Golay, who moved to Warner Robins from Colorado.
"She's kind of a celebrity," Golay said as she waited for Abrams at a restaurant near Robins AFB. "I’m excited. I already texted my family."
Sydney Seligman-Miguel moved to Georgia from California. "I’m really stoked to see like Stacey Abrams for real in person," she said.
Democrats are counting on winning over new voters. Enough of them voting in 2022 could lift up Abrams, who narrowly lost to Brian Kemp in 2018.
Democrats are buoyed by the infighting between Republicans Kemp and David Perdue, embroiled in an ugly primary battle that could weaken whichever candidate emerges.
"We know Medicaid expansion works," Abrams told a crowd of more than a hundred people. Her main message is much the same as four years ago – talking up the expansion of Medicaid to provide health insurance to tens of thousands of Georgians unable to get it now.
Houston County isn’t precisely Abrams country, but it’s trending in a direction that could help her win this year. In 2018, she lost the county to Kemp by 16.8 percentage points. Two years later, Joe Biden also lost the county by 12.4 points, closing the margin for the top-of-the-ticket Democrat.
Abrams rattled off the names of rural Georgia counties she expects to visit, saying Democratic votes are valuable in each of them "across the state of Georgia, and I’m going to talk to every single one of them."
Abrams barely mentioned gas prices or inflation, two issues that Republicans want to tie to President Biden, and Abrams by extension.
With Perdue and Kemp duking it out in the Republican primary, Abrams will have the luxury of campaigning at her leisure – and raising money that will make it difficult for either Republican to outspend her this fall.