First Lady Jill Biden headlined a fundraising event Friday afternoon for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams at the home of Ann and Jeff Cramer in Atlanta’s leafy Inman Park neighborhood.
The minimum donation to Abrams’ One Georgia Leadership Committee was $1,000, a Biden adviser said. The event was capped at about 75 donors, according to an Abrams campaign official.
When Jill Biden took the podium, she beckoned donors, who had been told to stand back, closer to her. “I’m a teacher,” she said by way of explanation. The crowd obliged.
First Lady spoke about her upbringing with Republican parents and how she enjoyed going to Phillies games every season. With the Phillies and Braves in the early innings of game three in their playoff series, the partisan Atlanta Braves let out a few friendly jeers.
“Just shake your head and say, ‘Bless your heart!’” advised Abrams, who was standing behind Jill Biden.
In remarks lasting about eight minutes, First Lady Jill Biden took a few swipes at Abrams’ opponent, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.
“It’s so harmful that there are politicians out there treating government like a sport. Who perform political stunts because they think that they can score a few more points against the other side. When your current governor brags about signing one of the toughest abortion bans in the country, when he refuses to expand Medicaid for Georgians who desperately need healthcare as Stacy said. When he tries to make it harder and harder for people to simply use their voices and go out and vote, I know that makes you angry! And it should make you angry! Because, government isn’t a game. There’s no us versus them, no teams to root for or against. We’re just people, just Americans . You know, Americans from all walks of life who need help and need hope,” said Jill Biden.
She described Abrams as much-needed unifying figure who has “spent her entire career fighting for the people of Georgia. Not fighting for blue or red, but one Georgia.”
Toward the end of her address, she urged guests to donate more to Abrams’ campaign. “I know you’ve donated, right?”
Behind her, Abrams nodded and said, “Yes.”
Jill Biden said she was “asking you to dig a little deeper!”
Another nod from Abrams.
Abrams had introduced Jill Biden, and in remarks lasting about 10 minutes she said her race against Kemp is much closer than polls suggest. In any event, Abrams added, “The polls are telling us what could be, but we decide what will be, and that is our job.”
“We are 25 days out from election day,” she said. “We are 25 days from victory.”
Abrams, wearing a black dress with a red blazer, smoothly cracked jokes as she spoke about raising the pay of educators, expanding universal Pre-K offerings, and expanding Medicaid.
One of her biggest applause lines came when she mentioned abortion rights.
“There’s a pathway to victory where people know if they have a new governor, they have a new lease on life,” she said. Invoking Kemp, she said, “It’s about protecting a woman’s right to choose.”
“It took a man to break Georgia’s promise to its women,” Abrams added. “It’s going to take a woman to put it right.”
This was a homey-looking fundraiser: There were buckets of sodas and waters in the kitchen, and platters of meatballs, pastries, and slaw-based salads in the dining room. Another speaker, Rep. Nikema Williams, also made the case for Abrams.
“As Georgians we don’t have to believe the naysayers,” Williams said as she introduced Abrams, referring to polls showing Abrams trailing Gov. Kemp. “And that’s exactly what we’re gonna do October 17 when early voting starts.”
Midway through the event, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens came in and stood beside the speakers. “You are absolutely in the right room,” Abrams told the crowd upon Dickens’ arrival.