But the center of this attention wasn’t
“This moment, and the significance of it, won’t seep in for some time from now,” said Gillum, mayor of
“What this signals is not only the continued evolution of our country but the increasing recognition of diversity, not only of capacity but of backgrounds,” said Abrams, 44, later.
Abrams, who could become the nation’s first black female governor, is getting the most national attention. But all three were squired around the
Jealous, 45, faces the steepest challenge, down in polls against incumbent Republican Gov.
After the three spoke together on stage, Jealous listened attentively backstage as Democratic
“I believe what we see in this current electoral cycle is not going to stop,” Abrams said. “We have more diversity in the candidates running and in the candidates winning and particularly for women of color. … I’m proud to be part of a national trend and I think it’s a trend that’s becoming a permanent one for America.”
None of them were heavy favorites in their primaries. Abrams is a longtime state official and former state House leader; Gillum has been a fixture of local
Their historic primary wins — and the national attention it brought — will bring out Democratic voters who might not have voted in a midterm election otherwise, they said. Midterm elections typically draw fewer than half of those eligible to vote.
“I know we have people keep wanting to hedge on these races: ‘Oh, you can win in the primary, but what happens in the general?'” Gillum said. “I honestly believe for all three of us, we are the best, and frankly, the most likely of the whole lot we were in to bring the kind of energy necessary in order to win states like ours.”
The political trio seem comfortable together and readily quote one another in interviews. They also tease one another, as they did when they turned Abrams’ observations about overcoming gender and racial barriers into jokes about their respective skin tones.
“I’m of a very rich brown hue,” Abrams said.
“I’m richer,” Gillum interrupted. “It’s the only thing I’m rich in.”
Jealous, who is biracial, smiled, then quipped: “No comment.”
The three of them have known one another for many years, Jealous said. He met Abrams when they were both around 20 years old, he said, and they’ve known Gillum since he was about that same age.
“It’s a special joy when you look to your left and look to your right and the people you see are the people you know and the people you trust,” Jealous said.
There has never been a black female governor in American history.
“What’s more important to me is that I’m opening the doors for others who may not have seen themselves in positions of power and leadership, and I can speak for communities that are unseen and unheard,” Abrams said.
All of them recognize the change their campaigns represent and what could be a unique place in history if they are all successful.
“It is a wonderful season we are in,” said