Stacey Abrams will be the first person to rebut a State of the Union without holding public office
Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate and former member of the Georgia House of Representatives, will deliver the Democratic Party's response to the State of the Union.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) confirmed Tuesday afternoon that he had asked Abrams to deliver the address, saying she is a "great spokesperson" and an "incredible leader," NBC News reports. Abrams accepted the invitation and said that she is "honored" to have been selected.
Democrats previously tapped Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) to respond to Trump's address in 2018, while some of the Republican rebuttals to State of the Union addresses delivered by former President Barack Obama came from then South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, then Rep. Paul Ryan (Wisc.), and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fl.).
The choice of Abrams is unusual in that the State of the Union response is typically given by someone currently in office; CBS News reports that there has only been one other example of a politician who doesn't hold statewide or federal office giving the rebuttal to the president's address: when Elizabeth Guzmán gave the Spanish language response last year, although even she was at the time a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.
Abrams ran a close race against Republican Brian Kemp in 2018 but lost by less than two percentage points. She has said she plans to run for office again.