“I’ve been deeply honored by so many fellow Georgians asking me to serve,” Abrams, a Democrat, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But my responsibility is not simply to run because the job is available. I need to run because I want to do the job.”
In a short video posted to Twitter, Abrams said she believes serving in the Senate would not be “the best role for me in this battle for our nation’s future.” She promised, however, to work hard to ensure Georgians elect a Democrat to the Senate in 2020.
“Make no mistake: Georgia deserves a U.S. senator who sees and understands the needs of all Georgians,” Abrams said. “A Georgian who cares more about protecting our farmers and our families than protecting the Trump administration and his grudges.”
People have pushed Abrams to run for office again since her narrow loss in Georgia’s gubernatorial race in November ― an election mired in a voter suppression controversy ― and they have speculated about her running for Senate or president in 2020.
Now that she has set aside a Senate run, speculation will likely heighten around her entering the crowded field of Democrats running for the presidential nomination. Last month, Abrams shot down theories that she would agree to be former Vice President Joe Biden’s running mate. Biden officially announced his candidacy on Thursday.
“I think you don’t run for second place,” Abrams said on ABC’s “The View” in March.
Abrams, who previously served as a state representative, was “taking a look at all options on the table in 2020 and beyond,” her former campaign manager said last month. Abrams said a presidential run was “definitely on the table.”
Earlier this year, Abrams ― who had made history as the first black woman to be a major party’s gubernatorial nominee ― delivered the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.
After her November loss, Abrams continued her yearslong work in voting rights by starting the group Fair Fight Georgia, which promotes fair elections and voter participation.
Abrams said in her video Tuesday that she’s not sure what is next for her, but she teased an announcement from her team about “groundbreaking initiatives to protect the right to vote.”
“Here’s what I do know: Democracy in America is under attack,” she said. “Voter suppression is rampant and it is real. ... Bad policies are a direct result of people’s voices not being heard because their votes were not counted.”
Abrams’ decision opens the highly anticipated race for the Senate seat representing Georgia to other potential Democratic contenders hoping to unseat Republican incumbent David Perdue.
Several Georgia Democrats have hinted at campaigns, including Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and Sarah Riggs Amico, who lost her bid to become the state’s lieutenant governor in 2018.
“We deserve bold, inclusive policies that lift up and engage all communities across Georgia,” Amico told HuffPost in a statement. “In the coming weeks, I’m going to be listening to Georgians from around the state to determine if I’m the candidate to drive that vision forward.”
Amanda Terkel contributed reporting.
This article has been updated with additional information from Abrams’ video and comments from Amico.