The leadership of Stacey Abrams, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bothams, LaTosha Brown, Nse Ufot and a trusted group of black female voters who voted overwhelmingly for President-elect Joe Biden will remain critical of the Democrats’ chances of gaining 5 Democrats. January.
Black women leaders and organizers say years of registering voters in churches and public events and knocking on doors in Black Sea and Latino neighborhoods paid off when Biden and newly elected Vice President Kamala Harris won Georgia.
And they believe they can do it again.
Over the next six weeks, black women said they would use these same strategies in addition to reaching out to voters who did not run in the general election to help Warnock and Ossoff win their race.
5 million Georgians are expected to vote in the presidential election, including 1.2 million blacks, according to Georgia’s Georgian legislature.
According to initial polls, 92% of black women in Peach State voted for Biden.
But Warnock and Osof could face a tough battle, given that Republican voters in Georgia have historically been more in the run-off, political analysts say. Their Republican contenders are also spending about $ 109.5 million to $ 88.2 million as of Friday.
Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University, said Democrats should use their success in the presidential election to stimulate voters in the Senate runoff. Part of that strategy requires us to rely on black women leaders and organizers to urge low-voter voters to vote, Gillespie said.
“It’s really simple, you just make sure you actually want people to show up,” Gillespie said. “They just have to cultivate the same soil they’ve been cultivating for the last decade, hoping they can reverse the tendency for Republicans to do extremely well in the election.”
Black organizers received much of the credit for Biden’s victory in traditionally red Georgia with their massive efforts to register new voters in colorful communities and combat voter repression with voter education.
The road to bruising
Abrams, a Democrat who lost to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in 2018, was praised for registering some 800,000 new voters in recent years and challenging the state’s electoral system, which has allowed voter purges and long queues in predominantly black areas. .
Abrams and other black women acknowledged Georgia’s growing diversity and saw a way to turn the country blue.
The share of eligible black voters increased by 5% between 2000 and 2018, according to the Pew Research Center. The share of Latino eligible voters increased by 3% over the same period. Meanwhile, the state has lost 10% of white voters.
“Right now, we can at least make sure everyone is out loud so we have two senators (Warnock and Osof) to make sure we have a response from Covid and we have incentive money coming back to Georgia.”
Ufot said she has spent the past six years knocking on doors, organizing events and sending mass text messages to urge young people and people of color to register and run in elections. During that period, the New Georgia project managed to register 500,000 new voters, she said.
Ufot also encourages voters to vote by mail and is ready to challenge all efforts to suppress voters.
“We will enter these eyes wide open,” she said.
Brown, co-founder of the Atlanta-based theme of black voters, has also spent years educating black voters in Georgia and other southern states about the importance of voting.
Brown said voter turnout, especially among black women, in the presidential election was the result of numerous campaigns led by black women and multiracial coalitions.
The loan has long been overdue
Democratic Sen. Nikema Williams of Georgia, who has been elected to succeed the late U.S. Representative John Lewis in the Fifth District of Congress, said blacks had long been credited with holding Democrat elections.
“Blacks have not just begun to play a critical role in the Democrats’ election victory,” Williams said. “Black women have always been the backbone of the Democratic Party, but what we see now is the people who dig into the data and recognize us for what we do.”
Williams said he expects to see continued efforts by black women ahead of the presidential election, including voter registration events, speeches at meetings of community sisters and black colleges and universities historically, and talks with voters about what is at stake. of the election. Black women, she said, should also turn to voters who did not vote in November to reassure them that Biden’s victory proves the vote count, Williams said.
Viola Hardy, a black woman from Marietta, said she was inspired by the work black women have done to elect voters in Georgia.
Hardy said he posted on social media, made phone calls and sent emails urging his friends, family members and neighbors to vote for the upcoming runoff.
Without control of the Senate, Hardy said it would be difficult for Biden and Harris to deal with issues affecting black women, such as abortion rights and equal pay.
“I’m asking people to do what they did in the general election, which is to go out and vote,” said Hardy, a 48-year-old broker. “We have our first black vice president. If nothing else, let’s show her that we have a voice and that we speak loudly and proudly so that she can leave a great legacy.”
CNN’s Erin Matthewson and David Wright contributed to this report.