Stacey Abrams, who earlier this year was on a short list of potential vice-presidential candidates, was ultimately not chosen by Joseph R. Biden Jr. But on Friday, as Mr. Biden took a narrow lead in Georgia, it was Ms. Abrams who was celebrated, a sign of her remarkable ascent as a power broker since her failed bid for governor of that state two years ago.
Celebrities, activists and voters across Georgia credited Ms. Abrams with moving past her loss — she came within 55,000 votes of the governor’s mansion — and building a well-funded network of organizations that highlighted voter suppression in the state and inspired an estimated 800,000 residents to register to vote.
“You have to build the infrastructure to organize and motivate your base, and you have to persuade people,” said Jason Carter, a Democrat who was the party’s candidate for governor in 2014. “Stacey built that infrastructure, and Donald Trump’s presidency energized that infrastructure, and it opened up voters to persuasion who were previously not open, particularly in the suburbs.”
Mr. Biden pulled ahead of President Trump in Georgia, a state that has not elected a Democratic presidential candidate in nearly three decades, and maintained a slight lead throughout Friday. He was up about 4,100 votes Friday evening with more than 98 percent of the ballots counted. Because of the small margin, the secretary of state confirmed there would be a recount.
Still, Democrats in the state were jubilant.
Ms. Abrams declined to comment on Friday. But in a tweet, she wrote, “My heart is full.” And she cited the work of other activists. “Georgia, let’s shout out those who’ve been in the trenches and deserve the plaudits for change.”
If Mr. Biden holds onto his slim lead in Georgia, her profile is likely to grow.