Editor’s Note: Our coverage of Sarah Riggs Amico is part of Running Women, a project following 15 compelling women candidates for U.S. political offices in 2018. Read the latest on her campaign below.
Sarah Riggs Amico is looking to go from the C-suite to political office. The executive chairperson of car haul company Jack Cooper Holdings Corp. is running as a Democrat to be the next lieutenant governor of Georgia. If she wins, she would be the first woman to hold that position in the state’s history.
Riggs Amico refers to herself as “politically purple” and in statements has committed to reaching across the aisle if elected — an important note to strike in this overwhelmingly red state. Georgia is a Republican trifecta, meaning that its governor and the majority leadership of its Senate and House are all Republicans. Should she win, she would be the first Democrat to do so in any statewide race in Georgia since 2006. (Governor candidate Stacey Abrams, whose race we are also following, is also eying this milestone.)
Riggs Amico is seeking to succeed Casey Cagle, who is running for governor this year. She defeated Triana Arnold James in the Democratic primary on May 22. In November’s general election, she will go up against the Republican nominee — two candidates, State Sen. David Shafer and former State Rep. Geoff Duncan, have advance to a runoff scheduled for July.
Her campaign launched on Jan. 30 with a fundraising event at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot and a page on the online crowdfunding site Crowdpac, an alternative fundraising source popular with women candidates. Her policy platform is focused on improvements to in-state public schools, affordable healthcare and job creation — the last issue being something with which Riggs Amico has personal experience. Riggs Amico’s company, a certified women-owned business and one of America’s largest car haul logistics companies, was acquired by her family in the midst of the Great Recession. She and her team grew it from 120 employees in 2008 to over 3,500 employees today.
“I knew our state could do a better job of investing in its people and its future, while growing wages and creating jobs — I know because I’ve done it in my company,” she said in a New Years message to supporters.
Before joining Jack Cooper, Riggs Amico worked in the entertainment industry. She held top positions at talent and literary agencies in New York City and Beverly Hills, and collaborated with companies like Time Inc., Reader’s Digest and Amtrak.
She grew up in the rural town in Joplin, Mo., where she attended public school. Riggs Amico then received her bachelor’s degree from Washington & Lee University and her master’s from Harvard Business School. She is a practicing Christian, and currently lives in Marietta, Ga., with her husband and their two daughters.
The Latest on the Campaign
November 20, 2018:
In Close Races for Women Democrats in Red States, Very Different Outcomes
Tight and fiercely fought races in Georgia and Arizona, both marred by voter-suppression controversies, are finally called.
The two women on the Democratic ticket to lead the state of Georgia, governor candidate Stacey Abrams and running mate Sarah Riggs Amico, who sought the lieutenant governorship, both lost in a close and bitterly fought election marred by claims of vote rigging. Meanwhile, Democrat Katie Hobbs won her race to become Arizona’s next secretary of state, putting her in position to fix an election system that has been beset by multiple problems and that she has also claimed was used by Republicans to suppress votes. Read the full story by Riva Richmond.
November 7, 2018:
A surge of women candidates this year resulted in record numbers of women securing political office. We saw it all — wins, losses and unclear outcomes — in our Running Women project. Read the full story.
Indeed, the election to decide who will lead Georgia is undecided. On Wednesday morning, governor candidate Stacey Abrams was behind by 1.7 points in the official vote tally, preparing to chase down uncounted ballots and bracing for a potentially drawn out and nasty legal fight against Republican Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state. Abrams’ running mate, Sarah Riggs Amico, was not conceding the race either.
October 16, 2018
Riggs Amico Woos Voters Under Family Firm’s Lawsuit Cloud
By Jenna Miller
Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor of Georgia Sarah Riggs Amico is 6 points behind her opponent in the polls, and a lawsuit against her family business has prompted Republican politicians to call for her to withdraw from the race.
But Riggs Amico doubled down on her campaign. On Monday, she embarked on a 3-day “We are Georgia” bus tour in an effort to round up as many early voters as she can before Election Day.
Riggs Amico trails her Republican opponent Geoff Duncan, 39 percent of likely voters to 45 percent, with 15 percent still undecided, according to a new Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) and ABC affiliate Channel 2 poll released on Oct. 11.
However, the poll shows Riggs Amico nearly tied with Duncan among women voters at 43 percent to 42 percent and way ahead among African American voters with 77 percent to Duncan’s 4 percent. The poll of 1,232 likely voters conducted between Sept. 30 and Oct. 9 has a margin of error of 2.8 percent.
On top mounting pressure to win over more voters, Riggs Amico is dealing with the pressure of a lawsuit filed in April and made public recently against Kevin Tumbleson, a yard supervisor at her family’s business, Jack Cooper, a specialty transportation and logistics company. In the suit, 10 current and former employees accused Tumbleson of discrimination against black workers and sexual harassment of some staffers.
Riggs Amico, who is executive chairperson of Jack Cooper, said the suit is “completely without merit,” in an Oct. 13 statement on her campaign website. “I am proud of my track record at Jack Cooper, and of our company’s strong anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies. Neither I, nor our company and its management, would ever tolerate discrimination of any kind.”
The lawsuit drew the attention of the Republican nominee for governor, Brian Kemp, who on Friday called on Riggs Amico to drop out of the race. He also called on his Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, to join him in demanding Riggs Amico withdraw.
“Victims deserve a champion, not an enabler, at the State Capitol,” Kemp said on his campaign Facebook page on Oct 12. “I urge Stacey Abrams to join me in calling for Sarah Riggs Amico to withdraw from the Lt. Governor’s race. This goes beyond politics or differences in ideology. This is about doing the right thing.” Abrams has made no comment.
In her statement, Riggs Amico shot back that Kemp is playing “dirty politics” and trying to distract voters from his “abysmal track record as Georgia Secretary of State” and claims of voter suppression targeting minorities.
August 1, 2018
New Poll Shows Riggs Amico With Slight Lead in Race for Lt. Governor
It’s nearly 100 days until the November 6 general election, but the race for Georgia lieutenant governor looks like it will be a close one.
A new poll of 650 likely voters released Tuesday by nonpartisan research firm Gravis Marketing found that 43 percent favor Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico, while 41 percent favor Republican Geoff Duncan.
With 15 percent of likely voters undecided and Riggs Amico’s 2 percent lead within the 3.8 percent margin of error, she is by no means a shoe-in. However, as a Democrat running in a red state, she said Wednesday that the poll makes “clear to everyone what I have been saying all along — I will win this race.”
Much like gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Riggs Amico is focused on getting out the vote and overcoming what she calls “the real opponent”: apathy. Registering voters is also a central part of her campaign strategy.
“We’ve got to get all our voters to the polls. We’ve got to tell them why it matters. And when we do that, Georgia is a blue state, and I will be your Lt. Governor,” she said in a video on her Facebook page.
Both Abrams and Riggs Amico received the endorsement of former President Barack Obama on Wednesday, making an initial group of 81 candidates he will throw his weight behind during the 2018 election.
July 25, 2018:
Riggs Amico Opponent Still Undecided Amid Too-Close-to-Call GOP Runoff
In the Republican runoff for lieutenant governor of Georgia, underdog Geoff Duncan edged ahead of state Senator David Shafer in a race considered too close to call as of early Wednesday. The victor will face Democratic nominee Sarah Riggs Amico in November.
While businesswoman Riggs Amico won her primary on May 22, the two Republicans went to a runoff when no candidate received more than 50-percent of the vote — Shafer received 49 percent and runner up Duncan received 26 percent.
Ahead of the two-way runoff, Duncan attacked Shafer for being a government insider and for his involvement in a sexual harassment case. He made a significant comeback, winning 50.2 percent of the runoff vote to Shafer’s 49.8 percent. Under state law, candidates can call for a recount within 2 business days of the election when the results are within a 1-point margin.
Thus far, Shafer has remained silent. Duncan, on the other hand, claimed victory late Tuesday, tweeting: “Congratulations to @DavidShafer on his service to our state and on a very competitive race. He’s a tough as nails opponent and he’s made me a better candidate for the general election.”
Riggs Amico also recognized Duncan as the victor, but in a statement Wednesday said “our biggest opponent in this race isn’t a Republican — it’s apathy.” She promised to continue to focus on her plans for healthcare and creating jobs for the remainder of her campaign.
July 11, 2018:
Lieutenant governor candidate Sarah Riggs Amico waved at Georgians from the high ground, as GOP candidates wrestled in a nasty runoff battle. Read our full story.
May 23, 2018:
Democratic primary voters put two entrepreneurial women on November’s ballot. Can Stacey Abrams and Sarah Riggs Amico flip Georgia blue — and make history as the first women to lead the state? Read the full story.
Beyond grateful and so proud of everyone who went out and voted yesterday! Thank you all! pic.twitter.com/8oButeBZsm
— Sarah Riggs Amico (@SarahRiggsAmico) May 23, 2018
March 5, 2018:
The Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor of Georgia speaks out against the man who currently holds the office, Casey Cagle, for choosing a donor over a major Georgia employer. Read the full story.