Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Democrat and highly-speculated 2020 hopeful, assured that her pursuit of the Democratic nomination is “on the table” — unriddling confusion about her timeline for a presidential run sparked by an appearance at South by Southwest.
Over the weekend, Abrams joined a flurry of announced Democratic contenders in Austin, Texas. During an interview about her political future, the former Georgia state House minority leader suggested that she would not consider a bid for the White House until 2028 at the earliest — appearing to rule out any chance of joining the already crowded 2020 field.
“In the spreadsheet with all the jobs I wanted to do, 2028 would be the earliest I would be ready to stand for president because I would have done the work I thought necessary to be effective in that job,” she told PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor.
Immediately following the interview in Austin, Abrams former campaign manager and the current CEO of Fair Fight, the voting rights group Abrams founded after the 2018 election, said that her comment referenced an old timeline and not her current thinking.
“She is taking a look at all options on the table in 2020 and beyond,” tweeted Lauren Groh-Wargo, who ran Abrams 2018 campaign.
Reigniting speculation that she might be entering the race for 2020, Abrams also later clarified her earlier comments, writing in a tweet, “now 2020 is definitely on the table.”
In #LeadFromTheOutside, I explore how to be intentional about plans, but flexible enough to adapt. 20 years ago, I never thought I’d be ready to run for POTUS before 2028. But life comes at you fast – as I shared in Q&A w @Yamiche at @sxsw. Now 2020 is definitely on the table…
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) March 11, 2019
During her appearance onstage at South by Southwest, Abrams said that she’s thinking “about what I’m going to run for next” and was met with cheers and applause from the crowd.
“We cannot have a president for a single population again,” she said. “That’s what we have right now. That is insufficient.”
“My task is to make certain that a Democrat is elected not only to the White House but that we have a Democratic majority in the Senate and a Democratic majority in Congress,” she asserted.
She is among a shrinking group of Democrats still flirting with a presidential bid on the periphery of the growing field — including former Vice President Joe Biden, the expected frontrunner, and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, another political rising star.
Abrams skyrocketed to national prominence after narrowly losing a historic gubernatorial bid last year to Republican Brian Kemp in Georgia. Abrams was the first African-American woman to become a major political party’s nominee for governor the United States.
Since losing the gubernatorial election in 2018, she has kept up a high profile. Earlier this year, she was the first African-American woman to deliver her political party’s response to a State of the Union address. She also spoke at the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting and launched a voting rights advocacy organization.
As she continues to mull her own bid, Abrams told the crowd in Texas, “I think beating Donald Trump is the wrong mission. When you are focused on your enemy, you are ignoring your allies. Our responsibility is to articulate a vision for America where we talk about who we are, what we want and how we serve our people. That is what a president is supposed to do.”
She added, “I don’t want us to elect the best bully, I want us to elect the best person.”
ABC News’ John Verhovek contributed to this report.