Democrat who ran for Georgia gov. enters state House race

Former Democratic candidate for Georgia governor Stacey Evans has announced a bid to return to the state House.

Evans said Thursday that she will enter the race for an Atlanta-based seat held by Democratic Rep. Pat Gardner, who isn’t seeking reelection in 2020.

Evans represented a Smyrna-based seat before stepping down in 2017 to run for governor. She lost in the Democratic primary to Stacey Abrams, who lost to Republican Brian Kemp.

One of Evans’ main platforms in that race was championing the HOPE scholarship, which enabled her to go to college.

“I’ve spent a lot of my adult life committed to public service and seeing what’s been happening here in the state of Georgia and nationally has compelled me to step forward and put my experience to work,” Evans said in an interview. “I just think there is too much at stake, there’s too much that needs to be done for me to keep my experience on the sidelines.”

Evans said she and her husband moved from Smyrna to the heavily Democratic Atlanta district shortly after last year’s election because they needed more room for their growing family and to be closer to where they both work.

She said she has been spurred to return to the state House in part by what she sees as an attack on women’s rights, including a restrictive abortion ban passed by the Georgia legislature earlier this year.

“For me it’s particularly frustrating because the last time there was a bill to limit reproductive freedom was in 2012 when I was in the legislature and I was pregnant with my daughter,” Evans said. “I was literally on my way to the hospital to be induced and I recorded a video that was played on the House floor against the bill. So I was there, and I was able to fight last time.”

“To watch that happen again and not be able to be there and be part of the fight, it was frustrating and I don’t want it to happen again,” she said.

Evans was first elected to the state House in 2010. She would return there in January 2021 if successful.