The Democratic leadership announced former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams will give the party’s official response to President Trump’s rescheduled State of the Union address on Feb. 5. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer selected the 45-year-old former minority leader of the Georgia statehouse who narrowly lost—50.2 percent to 48.8 percent—in her bid to become the country’s first black female governor in November.* Despite the loss, Abrams is viewed as a potential leader in the Democratic Party and a repeat candidate for office. The selection comes amidst speculation Abrams’ next run could come as early as 2020 against incumbent Republican Georgia Sen. David Perdue.
“At a moment when our nation needs to hear from leaders who can unite for a common purpose, I am honored to be delivering the Democratic State of the Union response,” Abrams said in a statement on Tuesday. “I plan to deliver a vision for prosperity and equality, where everyone in our nation has a voice and where each of those voices is heard.” Abrams follows Massachusetts Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, who was chosen last year by then–House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Schumer’s somewhat confounding selection of former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to give the rebuttal to President Trump’s first joint address to Congress shortly after his inauguration.
“Stacey Abrams offers a welcome, stark contrast to President Trump’s politics of division and lack of leadership as American families are still feeling the impacts of his self-imposed shutdown,” Schumer said in a statement Tuesday. The national platform will likely elevate Abrams’ profile that already was national in scope after her campaign for governor attracted national media and donor attention, as well as party activist support as Abrams fought an uphill electoral battle in the state that was beset by accusations of significant voter suppression.
*Correction, Jan. 29, 2019: An earlier version of this post misidentified Chuck Schumer as the Senate majority leader. He is Senate minority leader.