Stacey Abrams: 12 Facts About The Politician

Georgia's emergence as a battleground state during the 2020 presidential election surprised a lot of people, save for one person: Stacey Abrams. The 2018 gubernatorial candidate has been credited for Georgia's transformation thanks to her political organizing infrastructure for registering voters and increasing voter participation, reports NPR. To be exact, there were 800,000 new voters that year in Georgia. 

Abrams has devoted her career to voting rights issues and shining a light on what she believes is rampant voter suppression in Georgia and abroad. During her historical tenure as the first Black female minority leader in Georgia's House of Representatives, she created the New Georgia Project to register new voters in underrepresented communities. After she lost, she founded the activist organization Fair Fight to amplify voting rights, details Britannica.

Through these vehicles of change, Abrams has become a household name. In 2022, she said she planned another go for the governor's mansion and will face off an old foe: current incumbent Brian Kemp, explains AP News. Although it's being reported that he has the advantage, Abrams' own star hasn't dimmed. She's made many pop culture appearances such as her interviews with Stephen Colbert and a surprise appearance on "Star Trek: Discovery." Read on for more facts about Abrams.

She planned out her 40-year career in college

Most college girls would probably eat their hearts out after a bad breakup by watching cheesy rom-coms and eating something they would later regret. But not Stacey Abrams. When her heart was broken by some guy named Chad (come on, what did she expect?) while she was an undergrad at Spelman College, she immediately moved on by planning her next 40 years of career dominance. She set her sights on becoming a bestselling novelist by the time she was 24 and a millionaire CEO by age 30, according to her book "Minority Leader" (via The Washington Post).

It was perhaps a way for her to hold herself to high expectations and give herself a sense of confidence, but it definitely revealed what Abrams was already capable of: being an overachiever. Although she didn't become the mayor of Atlanta by age 35, as she had hoped, by the time she was 29, she was the city's deputy attorney, per Britannica. A few years later, she was elected to Georgia's House of Representatives. In 2022, Abrams finally became a millionaire as she'd hoped, reports AP.

Stacey Abrams is a romance author

Stacey Abrams, writing under the pen name Selena Montgomery, has published eight, steamy romance books with HarperCollins's Avon imprint, notes Glamour. A lot of them feature titles you'd expect from this genre: "Hidden Sins," "Secrets and Lies," and "The Art of Desire" (via Oprah Daily). 

But all of them also feature something that was important to Abrams: adventurous and sexy Black female protagonists. She wanted to be part of a movement to normalize such stories and broaden representation, per The Washington Post. Not to mention that her main characters are high-powered lawyers who strive for both romance and legal justice. With that kind of mission in mind, Abrams hasn't shied away from her writing in embarrassment. She's been willing to talk about it on talk show appearances and even once dressed up as her author alter-ego for a public Halloween event, reveals Glamour. When Abrams' not-so-secret side hustle became publicized in 2020, her novels received a surge of interest, forcing HarperCollins to print out more copies. Her first romance, "Rules of Engagement," was written while she was still in law school and her last came out in 2009, notes The Washington Post.

Her legal thriller is being adapted for TV

One of Stacey Abrams' novels is now getting the Hollywood treatment. "While Justice Sleeps" hadn't even cooled at the printing presses when a bidding war erupted for its TV and film rights, Deadline reports. On the day the thriller was released, NBCUniversal nabbed the rights to turn it into a TV series, fending off other producers. The book's release came a year after Abrams made national headlines for her voting rights activism in Georgia, and "While Justice Sleeps" was the first book to feature her actual name.

The book centers on a law clerk, Avery Keene, who works for a Supreme Court justice and is suddenly blindsided by a promotion when her boss slips into a coma, explains The Hollywood Reporter. Washington intrigue and legal turmoil abound. Abrams' college dream of becoming a bestselling novelist was achieved with this book, and it's been compared to Dan Brown's thrillers and "The Pelican Brief," according to Penguin Random House.

Stacey Abrams has seen a lot firsts as a Black female politician

Stacey Abrams has made a lot of history during her career. In 2010, when she became the minority leader of Georgia's House of Representatives, she was the first woman to do so, notes NPR. Not only that, she was the first Black person to lead the House. Her tenure lasted until 2017 when she decided to run for governor (per Britannica), leading to another "first." With her 2018 gubernatorial campaign, Abrams became the first Black woman to lead the Democratic party (or the Republican Party, for that matter) as their main candidate.

However, she ultimately lost the race and lost the chance to become the first Black woman to govern a state. That's the landmark win she's now vying for in her 2022 gubernatorial campaign for the Georgia mansion. However, she now comes to this race with another historic "first" under her belt: She was the first Black woman to give the official response to the State of the Union address, reports CNBC. It was 2019, and Abrams served as the Democratic Party's representative to deliver their official remarks in response to President Donald Trump.

She's been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize

After Stacey Abrams lost the 2018 Georgia governor's race, she decided to focus on eliminating barriers to voting with her organization Fair Fight, reports NPR. She began a campaign on registering voters and is estimated to have signed up 800,000 people to vote. Notably, 45% of these new voters were under the age of 30. It was Abrams' focus to help Black voters from what she saw as historic disenfranchisement (per NBC News) that led some to draw a comparison to civil rights leader and noted Nobel laureate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

In 2021, Abrams was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Per Reuters, nominator and Norwegian politician Lars Haltbrekken said Abrams was following in King's legacy, making her a very appropriate choice. However, nominations for the Nobel prize don't infer entrance to a shortlist or serious consideration by the Norwegian Nobel Committee (as there are thousands of nominators). Ultimately, the 2021 Peace Prize ended up going to journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov, who have investigated corruption and human rights abuses in the Philippines and Russia, respectively (via the Nobel Prize).

Stacey Abrams co-founded a Dasani for babies brand

The idea for Stacey Abrams' first company, Nourish, seemed so obviously good, it's a surprise it hadn't existed before: ready-to-go formula beverages for babies, according to Inc

On the go, mothers often have to find clean water or a place to wash a dirty bottle in order to feed their babies. With business partner Laura O'Connor Hodgson, Abrams launched a company to prevent these sorts of headaches, reports TechCrunch. They found a lot of success, according to Abrams' interview with Inc. So much so, that they found that their business model wasn't built to handle the company's growth and it led to financing issues. Specifically, they couldn't get their invoices paid on time from banks and credit unions — credit crunches made them ineligible altogether — and Nourish was forced to close.

This led Abrams and her business partner to their next idea: an invoicing company that streamlines the revenue issues for small businesses. If a small business is getting traction but doesn't have funds to cover costs, the company, Now, will pay up in a timely manner. By 2021, they serviced 1,000 small businesses and handled the equivalent of $700 million in funding. They have also raised $9.5 million in Series A funding.

She's received scrutiny for her flag-burning past

It was 1992, and Stacey Abrams and her fellow college students were livid over the Rodney King verdict, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. They helped create the organization Students for African-American Empowerment as a response. Abrams was something of a prodigy among the group since she was one of the youngest and a natural leader. In one infamous rally that Abrams helped spearhead, the students burned the Georgia state flag, which at the time incorporated the Confederate Flag (via Britannica). The act was caught on camera, printed in newspapers, and disseminated in national news. The students made appearances on Oprah and cable news programs. Abrams knew the act was controversial and would anger people, most of all Georgians, some of whom she received angry phone calls laced with racial slurs.

The incident followed Abrams into the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race. During a debate, Abrams was confronted with a question on the flag burning, and she insisted that she was a patriotic Georgian who, along with many others, found the Confederate elements of the old Georgian flag to be offensive, per CNN. She also issued a similar statement earlier that week.

Stacey Abrams wanted to be vice president

Late during his 2020 presidential election run, Joe Biden was feeling the pressure to select a woman of color to be his running mate, per CNN. In April of that year, 600 Black female activists and leaders within the Democratic party signed a petition requesting that Biden fulfill that expectation (via the Action Network). Senator Kamala Harris' name was thrown in, and she would eventually win, but Stacey Abrams was also once part of the conversation.

Abrams was happy to receive the attention. In an interview with Elle, she readily acquiesced when asked if she would accept the honor. What's more, she touted her credentials — with job interviewee-like swagger — and argued that she could move the vote. She also increased her public profile in those pivotal days when the Biden team was likely mulling over their choices. She appeared on The View and sat down to an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN (per CNN). She also put her public policy prowess to use with a column about the COVID-19 pandemic in USA Today. When Harris received the pick, Abrams nobly congratulated the Biden team and said that Harris was the right person for the job (via The Hill).

Her response to Brian Kemp's win has been muddled

Stacey Abrams' loss to Brian Kemp in the 2018 governor's race was heated. She believed the election was subject to voter suppression and that the race was unfairly won, reports CNN. Although she acknowledged Kemp's victory and admitted that he hadn't broken any rules, she refused to concede. The problem, Abrams believed, was a systemic one, and Georgian voters didn't stand a chance to have their voices heard within the current state laws. However, she did say that Kemp manipulated the electoral system to his benefit. Abrams' no-concession stance became controversial and has since been used against her. It has even been thrown into the conversation concerning the controversial electoral claims made by Donald Trump.

Abrams has defended her remarks by saying they were "taken out of context" and repeated acknowledgment of Kemp's victory, per The Guardian. Still, she didn't offer the word "concession." Even if on the surface this controversy is nothing more than a fuss over semantics, Abrams did claim to have won the election during the 2019 National Action Network convention and again during a New York Times Magazine interview that year.

Stacey Abrams made an appearance on Star Trek: Discovery

Stacey surprised and maybe even baffled some Trekkies when she appeared in the season 4 finale of "Star Trek: Discovery." The episode, which aired on March 17, 2022, featured Abrams as the President of United Earth, reports Deadline. It was a fitting role for the politically-aligned Abrams. As the president of the entire Earth, it was her character's responsibility to announce the green planet's decision to rejoin the Federation, which Abrams did with aplomb, per Yahoo! Entertainment. Her performance even impressed the producers, who were aware of her own Trekkie status and invited her onto the show.

Abrams' cameo was meant to be a surprise, and producers made sure her name wasn't listed on the call sheet or any place that could've been leaked. Still, Abrams never made her love of the franchise a secret. In 2017, she gave a nod to "Star Trek: Voyager" on Twitter. And it wasn't her first run-in with Hollywood, either. She was also featured on an election-themed episode of "Black-ish," for which she earned an Emmy nomination, according to Variety.

Her sister is a federal judge

Greatness runs in the Abrams family. Stacey's sister, Leslie Joyce Abrams Gardner, has had her fair share of success, starting notably with her appointment to the federal court circuit. Formerly an assistant U.S. attorney, Leslie received the nod from President Barack Obama in 2014, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Since then, she's become a high-profile figure and in 2022, her name was floated on lists for possible Supreme Court picks to replace Justice Stephen Breyer, per 11 Alive.

However, her relation to Stacey once became an issue in 2020 when Leslie landed a voting rights case, notes The Augusta Chronicle. It was a lawsuit from a group called Majority Forward that was trying to stop the Muscogee County Board of Elections from disqualifying voters who changed their addresses from being about to vote in a Senate runoff election. Muscogee filed a motion for Leslie to recuse herself from the case due to her sister's activism in voting rights issues and because Stacey's own activist organization, Fair Fight, was involved in its own, similar lawsuit. Leslie refused to step down, maintaining that there was no bias or conflict of interest.

Stacey Abrams has a net worth of $3.2 million

In 2018, Stacey Abrams wrote a personal column in Fortune Magazine on the dire state of her finances, arguing that it shouldn't affect her ability to govern if she were elected Georgia's governor. She owed the IRS more than $50,000 and had more than $170,000 in credit card and student loan debt. She also had a net worth of only $109,000, reports CBS News. But she has since had a turn in fortune. As of 2022, she had earned a net worth of $3.17 million. That's thanks in part to a lucrative side hustle giving speeches and signing book deals — earning $6 million in the process. 

But her Republican opponents have weaponized every stage of her finances against her. A 2018 advertisement from the Republican Governors Association alleged that Abrams wanted to raise taxes on Georgians despite not being able to pay hers. In 2022, a spokesperson from the National Republican Party said her newfound wealth was proof she was using the election to fill her pockets, per CBS News. In response, Abrams said during the 19th conference that her opponents were holding her entrepreneurial spirit against her and were bitter that she managed to dig herself out of a financial hole (via Axios).