With the general election matchup set, Democrat Stacey Abrams on Thursday launched a tour of the state focused on pocketbook issues – and studiously avoided attacks on her newly-minted Republican opponent.
She pledged to create 22,000 apprenticeships by 2022, increase need-based aid for college students and create a “skills cabinet” of industry leaders for advice on economic policies if she’s elected governor.
“Improving our economy is not a one-shot deal. It’s a comprehensive responsibility, and I’m excited about the work I’ve done and the work I intend to do to support our veterans, our young people and our laborers throughout the state of Georgia,” she said after touring an ironworkers union training center in Pooler.
Abrams overwhelmingly won her party’s nomination in May by emphasizing left-leaning policies such as gun control and abortion rights. She wants to appeal to a broader electorate by focusing on what she calls the “solvable” problems, including increasing jobs and expanding the Medicaid program.
She launched the tour, which also includes stops in Atlanta and Macon, days after Republican Brian Kemp won a dominating victory to land the GOP nomination. Kemp, the secretary of state, has branded Abrams as an “extremist” whose economic policies will hurt Georgia’s business climate.
At Thursday’s event in Pooler, she sidestepped direct criticism of both Kemp and President Donald Trump, who called her his “open border, crime loving opponent.” Asked directly about the attacks, Abrams focused on her efforts to let voters know “that I’m fighting for them.”
“My approach to winning this election is basic and complete: Talk to Georgians, talk about our shared values, talk about our futures together, and have comprehensive plans that respond to the needs no matter where you are and no matter who you are,” she said.
At the same time, she’s getting air cover from the Democratic Party of Georgia. The organization, buffeted by a $1 million donation from George Soros, launched a feel-good ad Thursday touting Abrams’ health care and education positions. It’s an effort to strengthen her image before GOP attacks escalate.
Read more recent AJC coverage of the Georgia governor’s race here: