The whipsmart Atlanta tax lawyer — who's also a prolific romance novelist was elected by her colleagues today to succeed Dubose Porter as House Minority Leader. Porter, who's served in the lower chamber for nearly 30 years, launched an unsuccessful gubernatorial bid against Roy Barnes.
Rounding out the new team, via the Georgia House Democratic Caucus:
In addition to choosing Abrams as Minority Leader, the Democratic Caucus also selected
a new leadership team for the caucus, including, Doug McKillip, as caucus chairman; Carolyn Hugley, as whip; Billy Mitchell, deputy whip; Rashad Taylor as vice chairman; Stephanie Stuckey-Benfield, treasurer; and Debbie Buckner, secretary. The caucus also created the new position of Chairman Emeritus that will be held by Calvin Smyre.
As Minority Leader, Abrams will not only push policy and lock horns with House Republicans — who on Monday elected Larry O'Neal as their leader — but also try to reposition a party that once ruled Georgia politics but has dwindled in recent years. Hell, make that days. Since Monday, three rural Democrats have switched parties. According to Jim Galloway, Republicans are courting several more. Abrams barely has enough votes in the lower chamber to block a constitutional amendment. And on Nov. 2, Democrats failed to snag any statewide seats — a first since Reconstruction.
The Democratic Party's recovery will also take some rebranding — plus a lot of reaching out to independents, especially those outside urban areas, which are typically Democratic strongholds.
In a statement, Abrams said:
"Many say the clearest message from last week's election was a clamor for jobs and a rebound in the economy. I'd say that's the surface message. What Georgians want is economic security for their families - which is more than just a job. It's a job that pays well. It's an educational system that prepares their children to get those jobs. It's a transportation system that let's them spend more time at home than on 675. Any party that only hears "jobs" is going to be in trouble in the long run. And it will be the responsibility of the Democratic Caucus to show Georgians what they could have and what they're getting instead[.]"
It's gonna be a helluva fight.
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