Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia House Speaker who rose to national prominence in a losing bid to become the nation’s first African-American female governor, will deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union.
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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters on Capitol Hill that he contacted Abrams three weeks ago and that she has agreed to give the high-profile rebuttal to Trump’s address to Congress.
“I was very delighted when she agreed and she is just a great spokesperson, she’s an incredible leader,” Schumer told reporters on Tuesday.
Abrams confirmed the news in a tweet and added in a statement released by Schumer and Pelosi. “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. 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,” she said.
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. https://t.co/0dpA3lJZpS
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) January 29, 2019
California Attorney General and former U.S Congressman Xavier Beccera was chosen to give the Democrats’ Spanish-language response to the State of the Union.
“I’m looking forward to addressing my fellow Americans on a day when truth, candor and unity should be the order of the day,” Becerra wrote in a statement released Tuesday, “There is enough good going on in this country that we don’t need to hide behind misrepresentations to describe the State of our Union.”
Abrams, who served the Democratic leader of the Georgia House of Representatives for more than six years, ultimately fell short in her bid against Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp by roughly 50,000 votes, but accused her opponent of voter suppression and subsequently launched a legal organization, Fair Fight Georgia, to “pursue accountability in Georgia’s elections and integrity in the process of maintaining our voting rolls,” according to a release from her gubernatorial campaign.
Her campaign attracted a wide-range of national star power and was boosted in its waning days by Oprah Winfrey, who personally knocked on doors for Abrams, surprising more than a few Georgia voters.
How would you react if @Oprah knocked on your door?
Earlier today, super-canvasser @Oprah knocked on super-voter Denise’s door! Denise already has a plan to vote early & volunteer hard to push us to victory in 4 days.
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) November 2, 2018
During the campaign, Trump called Abrams “unqualified,” and said she would “destroy a great state,” if elected.
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be a great governor. He has been successful at whatever he has done, and has prepared for this very difficult and complex job for many years. He has my Strong Endorsement. His opponent is totally unqualified. Would destroy a great state!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2018
Even in her final speech of the campaign, Abrams remained defiant, refusing to label it a “concession.”
“This is not a speech of concession,” Abrams told her supporters last November when she officially ended her campaign, “Because concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper. As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede that.”
The opportunity to deliver the Democratic response to the State of the Union presents Abrams with an opportunity to re-assert herself as a political force as she ponders a potential challenge to GOP Sen. David Perdue in 2020.
In a November 2018 interview with CNN following her loss, Abrams said she does intend to run for office again, but did not specify which office she may seek.
ABC News’ Mariam Khan contributed to this report.