ATLANTA (CN) — Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams will deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address next Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer confirmed Tuesday.
Abrams narrowly lost the race for Georgia governor in November to Republican Brian Kemp following an election fraught with allegations of voter suppression and faulty voting machines. Abrams received more votes than any Democratic candidate in Georgia history but lost to Kemp by 1.39 percentage points.
She will address the country in a primetime speech following the president’s address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 5.
“Three weeks ago, I called Stacey Abrams and asked her to deliver the response. I was very delighted when she agreed,” Schumer told reporters Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
He added, “She has led the charge for voting rights, which is at the root of just about everything else. And if you look at her background, she knows what working people, middle class people go through.”
Abrams confirmed that she will deliver the response in a tweet Tuesday afternoon.
“At a moment when our nation needs to hear from leaders who can unite for a common purpose, I am honored to be delivering the Democratic State of the Union response,” she wrote.
Abrams is the first black woman ever to win a major party nomination for governor. She previously served as the Democratic leader of the Georgia General Assembly and recently met with Democrats, including Schumer, about the possibility of a Senate run in 2020 against Republican David Perdue.
She initially refused to concede to her opponent in the governor’s race and launched Fair Fight Action, an organization dedicated to election reform and securing voting rights, in the days following her loss.
The group brought a federal lawsuit against the Georgia Election Board in November, asking a judge to strike down state laws that its claim resulted in widespread election mismanagement. State officials have until the end of January to respond to the complaint.
“As a brilliant leader in our party and a fighter for all Georgians, Stacey Abrams is a phenomenal choice to deliver the Democratic response to the State of the Union. Our state is a critical battleground for Democrats to win in 2020, and this news reflects once again that national leaders have their eye on Georgia,” Nikema Williams, chairwoman of the Georgia Democratic Party, said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.