Georgia Capitol in Atlanta

Georgia Capitol in Atlanta

ATLANTA — Democratic Party leaders exhorted their members to work hard to turn out voters in November in Georgia at the party’s state dinner in downtown Atlanta on Friday night, May 13

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar were among the leaders who urged the party faithful to ensure Democrats repeat their 2020 success in Georgia.

Speakers zeroed in on the difference between Democratic and Republican approaches to health care as a key reason party members should recommit to getting Democrats elected in November.

“A Democratic governor would never allow a hospital to close in Randolph County and a hospital to close in Commerce, Ga., and a hospital to close in East Point in Atlanta,” Abrams said. “We would not let a hospital close when people’s lives are on the line.

“We care about the people of our state...Yes, we want to have new plants and new jobs. But Medicaid expansion will bring us 64,000 jobs, bring us $3.5 billion a year, give half a million people access to health care, provide mental health support to thousands of Georgians, and it will do it all without raising a dime in taxes.”

Depending on the results of the upcoming May 24 Republican primary, Abrams will face off against either incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp, challenger David Perdue, or one of three lesser-known candidates. Incumbent Kemp is the current GOP frontrunner.

Another hotly contested top-of-ballot race will pit incumbent senator Warnock against one of six Republicans currently vying for that party’s nomination — most likely former University of Georgia football star Herschel Walker.

Warnock touted Democratic accomplishments over the last two years, such as passing the American Rescue Plan, infrastructure investments, and the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first African-American woman to be appointed to the court.

“Georgia, you made all of these things possible by showing up in historic numbers,” Warnock said, calling on party members to show up again because “the soul of our country is at stake.”

Warnock said he would continue to work on his proposal to cap insulin prices at $35 a month and that he supports a woman’s right to choose an abortion.

“I just happen to think a patient’ s room is too small and cramped a space for a woman, a doctor and the United States government,” Warnock said.

“If you really have a reverence for life, try this out: expand Medicaid in Georgia,” he urged.

Warnock also called on President Joe Biden to take immediate executive action to forgive student loan debt, explaining that he was able to study at Morehouse College only because of Pell grants and low-interest student loans.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar also spoke, noting that election results will determine a woman’s right to have an abortion.

“For the first time in generations, the women in this country will have less rights than their mothers and grandmothers,” Klobuchar said. “Get mad and vote.”

So far, early voting in the state’s primaries has set records. As of Thursday, May 12, more than 330,000 Georgians had already voted, according to a press release from Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Of those, 137,226, or 41%, were cast in the Democratic primary.

U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, D-Atlanta, chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, and Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens announced that Atlanta will bid to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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