Polling in the Georgia gubernatorial race hasn’t changed much in the past six months. FiveThirtyEight has Gov. Brian Kemp up by 5.1 points over Stacey Abrams which is very close to where the race was in April. Today the NY Times reports Georgia Democrats are increasingly pessimistic about Abrams’ chances.

For years, she worked to register and turn out Democratic voters, narrowly losing her first bid for governor in 2018 and helping fuel President Biden’s victory in 2020. Now, her struggles have some Georgia Democrats wondering if the Abrams model — seeking to expand the universe of voters to fit her politics — is truly better than trying to capture 50 percent of the voters who exist now.

“Right now, people are concerned — kind of looking sideways,” said Erick Allen, a Democratic state representative, who said he hoped enthusiasm would pick up in the fall sprint. “There’s a lot of energy around the Warnock campaign. I’m not sure if the same energy that we had four years ago is around the Abrams campaign yet.”…

Democrats have largely kept quiet on their concerns about Ms. Abrams’s campaign. But several county elected officials and community leaders in Georgia have privately expressed their worries to the campaign directly, according to interviews with more than two dozen Democratic officials who asked not to be named discussing private conversations. They have complained that the campaign was slow to reach out to key constituencies and underestimated Mr. Kemp’s strength in an already difficult year for Democratic candidates.

One of the major concerns is that Abrams doesn’t seem to be holding on to the votes of black men. She has been holding policy meetings with black voters which the campaign is calling “Stacey and the Fellahs” but so far it doesn’t seem to be working.

A July poll from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found Ms. Abrams winning support from about 80 percent of Black voters in Georgia, a figure that is dangerously low in the narrowly divided state. Her campaign released an internal poll last week showing her support among Black men at 85 percent, a figure still short of her 2018 performance by about eight percentage points.

Since they can’t attribute the decisions of black voters to racism, some Democrats are instead attributing her struggles to sexism. But the Times points out there’s another reason she’s not likely to pick up the votes of moderate Republicans.

…many Republicans still associate her with her refusal to concede defeat to Mr. Kemp in that race. Ms. Abrams has repeatedly defended that decision, particularly against those who say it was no different from efforts by former President Donald J. Trump and his allies to overturn Mr. Biden’s victory in 2020.

If you’ve stepped away from the GOP because the former president refused to concede the election why would you step toward a Democrat best known for refusing to concede an election? But there’s another reason Abrams is probably struggling more than Sen. Warnock. Her opponent is pretty popular. Morning Consult has Kemp at 53-27 approval, which puts him 26 points above water. Kemp’s camp was asked for a comment about the NY Times article and issued this statement:

Tate Mitchell, who serves as Kemp’s campaign spokesperson, reacted in a statement first obtained by Fox News.

“Stacey Abrams’ campaign isn’t connecting with Georgia voters, and people across the country and here in Georgia know it,” Mitchell said. “After raising millions hand over fist from out-of-state billionaires, her campaign — and Georgia Democrats — are now mired in internal squabbling. Governor Kemp will continue to run on his record of putting Georgians first and his vision for a safer, stronger Georgia.”

If things don’t turn around and Stacey Abrams loses this rematch election, will she concede graciously? I think if she’d done that last time she wouldn’t be fighting such an uphill battle.

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