As honking car horns blared, Kamala Harris addressed a crowd of hundreds of Democrats lining the parking lot of a Gwinnett County arena.
With gusts of wind threatening the makeshift stage, Harris stepped down to the parking lot’s pavement to rev up the crowd, including a group that had departed their cars to press against a railing to hear her remarks. “Honk if you know someone who has diabetes,” she asked, as more car horns bleated.
It’s the second visit by Harris to Georgia in eight days, but this trip was aimed at voters in suburban Gwinnett County rather than Atlanta. Gwinnett flipped blue in 2016 for the first time since Jimmy Carter’s presidency, and Democrats have only consolidated support since then.
“So I’m back in Georgia. We have two days to go. And I came back to Georgia because I wanted to just remind everybody that you all are going to decide who is going to be the next president of the United States. I’m back in Georgia to thank you for all you’ve been doing all these weeks and months.”
Harris added: “We still have a ways to go … This is not the time to let up. This is the time to put our feet on the pedal.”
She delivered her stump speech on the four crises threatening the nation, peppering her remarks with the contrasts between the Democratic ticket and President Donald Trump. She singled out Trump’s debate remarks urging the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”
“Georgia here’s the thing – it’s not like it’s a one-off. Don’t forget when he was running for office and thinking about his political career, he had the gall to question the legitimacy of America’s first Black president.”
She told the crowd – a mix of Black, white, Hispanic and Asian voters in one of Georgia’s most diverse counties – they must vote to “honor the ancestors.”
“And Georgia, for you, this is a particular point of pride,” she said bringing up the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis.
“He told us to get in good trouble. And you know the thing about John … he was an extraordinary human being. He knew the fight for voting rights is an extension of the fight for civil rights.
“We will not be deterred, we will not be sidelined, we will not be silenced. And here’s my last point: This moment will pass.“And years from now, our children, our grandchildren and others, they will look in our eyes – each one of us – and they will ask us, ‘Where were you in that moment?’ And what we will tell them is so much more than just how we felt. We will tell them what we did.”
Harris opened by thanking Stacey Abrams, who came within about 55,000 votes of winning the 2018 governor’s race, and who has since built a broad voting rights organization.
“I’m so thankful to her for the work that she has been doing for years, to fight for Georgians and the right to vote. What she’s been doing for years to fight that good fight. … We have to say, ‘Thank you Stacey Abrams for the work you’ve done.’”
Shortly before Harris spoke, a string of Georgia Democrats took the stage. Senate Democratic nominee Jon Ossoff ribbed Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue for canceling the third and final televised debate, scheduled for Sunday evening, so he could appear with Trump at a rally. “We were supposed to debate again tonight, but Senator Perdue isn’t coming. See, Senator Perdue is not just a crook – he’s a coward,” said Ossoff. “Imagine being a sitting United States Senator too afraid to face your opponent in open debate?”
Harris also dinged Perdue, who mocked the pronunciation of her name at a Trump rally earlier this month, by spelling out the correct pronunciation of Ossoff’s name (with a chuckle).
U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson joked that Kamala Harris – who visited Georgia just eight days ago – “just can’t get enough of our beautiful, soon-to-be blue state.” And Abrams urged Democrats to stay clearheaded ahead of Election Day.
“Don’t panic. We got this guys. We know what we’re facing this time,” said Abrams, adding: “If we don’t panic and don’t get out of line, we get what we deserve. That is a government for the people and by the people – and made so by the state of Georgia.”