Stacey Abrams suggests Iowa not 'representative' enough to be first nominating contest

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Former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams suggested on Tuesday that putting Iowa first in the primary season suppressed minority votes and ignored representation from "people of color."

"Our first contests must be representative of the American people as a whole," she tweeted after outlets started reporting the Iowa caucus results.

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"People of color have been loyal to the Democratic Party and deserve more of a voice in our primaries from the start. We can accomplish this by multiple states holding primaries the first day of voting."

Two white males -- former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. -- held the top spots in partial results released Tuesday after a tech malfunction delayed reporting on the results.

The Democratic field has faced criticism in this cycle for its apparent lack of diversity.

"It's both an honor and a disappointment to be the lone candidate of color on the stage tonight," 2020 candidate Andrew Yang said during December's debate.

Buttigieg, in particular, has had difficulty resonating with black voters. Just before the Iowa caucuses, the Indiana native upset media figures by appealing to his "heartland" roots, which some media figures -- including former CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien -- criticized as a form of coded, racist language.

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Since losing her gubernatorial bid in 2018, Abrams has been an advocate against voter suppression, suggesting that was responsible for her own loss to Republican Brian Kemp.

On Tuesday, Abrams acknowledged the Iowa caucuses' "long and storied tradition" but indicated it wasn't ideal for the start of a primary season.

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"As we build a more accessible election process, we should revisit how Democrats launch our primary season," she said.

In another tweet, Abrams decried "suppression" that occurred when voices are "intentionally silenced AND when no one is willing to admit or fix the problem."