Updated at 5:32 p.m. ET
Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams will give the Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union address next week.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced the selection of Abrams on Tuesday, saying he extended the offer to her about three weeks ago and was excited she had accepted to give the rebuttal on Feb. 5.
“She is just a great spokesperson. She is an incredible leader,” Schumer told reporters at the Capitol. “She has led the charge for voting rights, which is at the root of just about everything else. And she has, if you look at her background — she knows what working people, middle-class people go through.”
And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she was thrilled Abrams had accepted, saying that in the 2018 campaign her “electrifying message reinvigorated our nation & continues to inspire millions in every part of the country.”
Abrams tweeted that she was honored to be delivering the response.
Abrams became a rising star within the Democratic Party as she was trying to become the nation’s first African-American female governor last year. The former Georgia House minority leader lost by almost 55,000 votes against Republican Brian Kemp, the then-secretary of state who came under fire for alleged voter suppression tactics. Abrams held out after Election Day, hoping that absentee and provisional ballots could push her to a runoff, but in an impassioned speech 10 days later, she admitted there wasn’t a path to victory but underscored this wasn’t a concession from her.
“Pundits and hyperpartisans will hear my words as a rejection of the normal order. You see, I’m supposed to say nice things and accept my fate. They will complain that I should not use this moment to recap what was done wrong or to demand a remedy. You see, as a leader, I should be stoic in my outrage and silent in my rebuke,” Abrams said. “But stoicism is a luxury and silence is a weapon for those who would quiet the voices of the people. And I will not concede because the erosion of our democracy is not right.”
Abrams is also being courted as a possible Senate candidate in 2020 to challenge Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue.
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