ATLANTA (NBC) — Perhaps the most closely-watched governor’s race in the country is Georgia’s. The latest polls show Democrat Stacey Abrams trailing GOP incumbent Brian Kemp.

Abrams is looking to close the gap, by tapping into hundreds of thousands of new voters.

Q: How important is the state of Georgia?

“Georgia essential is essential,” Abrams said. “Georgia is often the lead on what’s going to happen across the country.”

That became abundantly clear in 2020 when Georgia flipped blue for President Biden.

Georgia changed control of the U.S. Senate and a key factor in it all was Stacey Abrams.

“We found that there were 800,000 people of color who were not registered to vote in Georgia who were eligible,” Abrams said. “We knocked on their doors and we asked them, why aren’t you registered? Why aren’t you voting?”

Q: What do they tell you?

“They said because they didn’t trust government, because no one had ever asked, and because they felt overlooked,” Abrams said. 

Abrams is looking to those same voters to help secure her own historic win. 

“I’m running to become governor of Georgia. If I’m successful, or when I am successful, I will be the first Black woman in American history to do so,” Abrams said.

Abrams is in a rematch against Kemp, who, four years ago defeated her by less than 55,000 votes.

“We have a great opportunity here in our state,” Kemp said. “But you know we are beating the bushes every single day reminding people the differences in where we would be now, where we would have been if Stacey abrams was your governor.”

It’s a tight race, though most polls show kemp consistently ahead. But a lot has changed since they last met in 2018.

Georgia now has 1.6 million newly registered voters, meaning more than 20% of the current electorate was not eligible to vote in the last governor’s race.

“We want to harness those votes, but we don’t take those votes for granted,” Abrams said. 

It means going to places, typically considered Republican strongholds — rural Georgia.

Q: Are there votes to be won there?

“Absolutely. It is not the county’s vote. It’s the person’s vote,” Abrams said. “If we can increase the vote share in those communities, we absolutely will see a change in the outcome of the election.”

About three hours south of Atlanta in Valdosta, Georgia, Glenn Stegall is the owner of Priceless Beauty Shop.

Q: What is your number one issue in this race?

“In this race, I think you have to have a candidate who simply understands what we face on a day-to-day basis,” Stegall said. “We’ve got to be able to hire qualified candidates, that stems back to education.”

Stegall says he’ll vote but convincing some family and friends to turnout, especially those who aren’t as enthusiastic as they were in 2020, is a struggle.

Q: What do you say to that voter who then raises the question of why should I go out and do this again?

“That voting is not magic, voting is medicine. It’s less an enthusiasm gap than a trust gap,” Abrams said. “And we need folks to understand that for this race, it’s not about what happens in Washington. It’s what happens in Atlanta.”

Currently, poll numbers by Emerson College show that the gubernatorial race has Governor Kemp with a 4-point lead over Stacey Abrams — 48 to 44%.

Watch NBC’s full interview with Stacey Abrams below.