"During Stacey Abrams' college years, Georgia was at a crossroads, struggling with how to overcome racially divisive issues, including symbols of the Confederacy, the sharpest of which was the inclusion of the Confederate emblem in the Georgia state flag", the statement read.
Abrams's acknowledgement of the incident came after an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution surfaced showing Abrams helping torch the flag, which at the time pictured a "Stars and Bars" Confederate battle symbol.
Abrams, who was also the minority leader in the State House of Representatives, could become the first Black and first woman governor of the state of Georgia at age 44.
Abrams and her Republican opponent Brian Kemp are in a close race for the governor's office.
WSBTV reports that some 85 percent of African-American voters support Abrams, while roughly two-thirds of white voters' support Kemp.
Abrams repeatedly emphasized her plan to expand Medicaid in Georgia, calling it a "bipartisan solution" that Vice President Mike Pence embraced when he was Indiana's Republican governor. Kemp and Georgia Republicans concocted an "exact-match" law where anyone's name on their government-issued IDs must precisely match their names as listed on the voter rolls, and Ted Enamorado of The Washington Post found that as many as 30% of voters in America's 8th largest state could be ineligible to vote under this law (totaling nearly a million people).
In 2017, shortly after violence in Charlottesville during a white nationalist march, Abrams said the monument on Stone Mountain should be removed.
It is unclear if this issue will help or hurt Abrams' campaign. She said it is the responsibility of Georgians to take care of those in need, especially when they are "working families who only want a little bit of access to health care". Kemp has hit back hard at Abrams, saying she's "too extreme for Georgia". The face-to-face meeting was expected to be contentious in part because of all the voter suppression allegations facing Brian Kemp, who is polling neck-and-neck with Abrams.
Not long after Kemp began his remarks, the candidate expressed worry about early voting and "the literally tens of millions of dollars that they [the Abrams camp] are putting behind the get-out-the-vote effort to their base". Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, says that Abrams is fighting for immigrants without legal status to cast ballots in the November 6 election.
The Confederate battle flag had been added to Georgia's state flag in 1956 as a rebuke of the growing civil rights movement.