Progressive Democrat Stacey Abrams is taking on Trump-style Republican Brian Kemp in a state where all 82 of its governors have been white men
In Sweet Auburn, a short walk from the birthplace and stone tomb of Martin Luther King Jr, salon owner Terrica Jones is silking hair with a ceramic iron and contemplating an opportunity that once seemed unthinkable: to vote for a black woman to lead Georgia, a deep south state haunted by slavery and segregation.
When I was growing up, it would have been a dream, says Jones, 41, an African American in Atlanta. Today I think anybody can be governor. The important thing is you have to have the heart to do it.
A decade after Barack Obama became Americas first black president, Stacey Abrams is bidding to become its first black female governor. But standing in the Democrats way in Georgia, where all 82 governors have been white men, is Brian Kemp, a Republican unapologetically borrowing from Donald Trumps populist playbook. Kemp has described the November election as a battle for literally the soul of our state he might have added that it is a battle for the soul of the nation.
As Obama and Trump hit the campaign trail for the midterm elections, in what is likely to be cast as an existential struggle between hope and fear, Abrams and Kemp are perhaps their most vivid avatars. With tensions around gender and race, allegations of voter suppression and radically different policies on education, healthcare, immigration, gun rights and worker protections, the result will reverberate across the country and could help define the contours of the 2020 presidential election.