Abrams and Kemp are virtually tied in Georgia governor's race

Posted November 04, 2018

Talk show host-producer-philanthropist Oprah Winfrey returned to the campaign trail for Stacey Abrams, a Democrat who is running for Governor of Georgia in the upcoming midterm polls, saying "all the noise", "crazy talk" and "vitriol" was now part of political discourse.

Winfrey is in Georgia in support of Abrams, who hopes to become Georgia's first black female governor.

Oprah Winfrey and Mike Pence. Winfrey quoted Maya Angelou, citing how the poet "used to say, 'Baby, your crown has been paid for so put it on your head and wear it'".

This was Winfrey's first foray into midterm politics this year, after largely sitting out the 2016 presidential campaign. But Georgia's highly competitive governor's race has been receiving mounting national attention for weeks now, in light of a series of controversies involving allegations of voter suppression and racism.

The Republican candidate for governor in Georgia, Brian Kemp, has faced scrutiny for declining to step down from his roll as secretary of state, which oversees the state's elections.

And in a nod to the allegations of voter suppression that have marked the gubernatorial race, Winfrey told the crowd that "every single one of us has something that, if done in numbers too big to tamper with, can not be suppressed and can not be denied".

The "exact match" law flags voter registrations that are found to have discrepancies, such as a dropped hyphen, with other official identifications.

More than 1.5 million Georgians already have cast ballots.

Civil rights groups sued Kemp in October over 50,000 voting registration applications placed on hold due to Georgia's "exact-match" law, requiring that personal information on voter applications match what is on state databases.

Some mismatches are triggered by variations in a name, like a dropped hyphen, or because of data entry errors. It also signaled that the coalition of civil rights groups that brought the case against Kemp would likely succeed should the lawsuit continue.

Last week an NBC News/Marist poll showed Kemp leading Abrams by 2 percentage points.

In August, an effort to close polling places in Black-majority counties in the state was ultimately nixed.