Jun 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Stacey Abrams won't say if she's still in the running for Biden's VP

Stacey Abrams tells "Axios on HBO" that she hopes Joe Biden picks a running mate who "reflects his understanding of this moment and his effort to continuing to expand the electorate," but she declined to say whether she's being vetted for that role for which she's openly campaigned.

Why it matters: Abrams' name has generated considerable excitement as a potential pick among some Democratic voters, including many black voters, but she told CBS "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert on June 10 that she'd “not received any calls" about the VP slot — and deflected in our interview when asked if that had changed.

  • "I'm privileged to have my name sometimes bandied about as one of them, but ultimately, it's his choice," Abrams told "Axios on HBO."

The backdrop: Abrams said that her team and Biden's team have been working consistently for months on voting rights issues and how to have a secure election in November.

  • After losing her 2018 gubernatorial race in Georgia, Abrams founded Fair Fight, an organization to fight against voter suppression and increase voter registration, education and turnout.
  • The state's June 9 primary was a disaster. Hours-long lines, reduced polling locations, issues with absentee ballots that ultimately were not counted, and a list of other issues led to widespread disruptions during the voting process.
  • Georgia's Secretary of State has launched an investigation into issues with the state's new $104 million voting machines.

What they're saying: "What we saw play out in the state of Georgia further amplifies my clarion call that voter suppression is alive and well in Georgia and it has to be eradicated," Abrams told "Axios on HBO."

  • "We should trust that our elections, No. 1, will happen — but we also have to make certain that we demand the support and investment that makes it possible."
  • Abrams tried to vote absentee, but the return envelope that was included with the ballot was sealed shut when it arrived. She was unable to get a substitute envelope, so she had to vote in person instead, she said.

The big picture: Abrams previously served as Democratic minority leader in the Georgia House of Representatives but she hasn't held office higher than state representative, making her consideration as a running mate even more noteworthy.

  • After Donald Trump's election in 2016, a surge of women decided to run for office. Many said Trump's unlikely victory — given his lack of political experience — inspired them to run.
  • Abrams does not feel that way: "I think there’s absolutely nothing unusual about a man with wealth and privilege being able to use that wealth and privilege to catapult himself into power. That is the narrative of America."
"What gives us opportunity is one, being willing to do the work, two, being willing to take credit for the good work we’ve done. But I give Donald Trump or his election absolutely no credit for the advances that women continue to make, that women of color make, that people of color make in our society. "
— Stacey Abrams, founder of Fair Fight

What's next: Abrams told "Axios on HBO" that "I believe in doing the work, which is why, when I don’t have a title, I continue doing the work by creating organizations and standing up structures so that the systems we need to change can change."

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