Democrat Stacey Abrams Ends Bid For Georgia Governor, Decrying 'Suppression'

Lamar Ellis
November 17, 2018

Abrams Republican challenger, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, has held the lead and is expected to be declared the victor on Friday, charged that Abrams has led a "publicity stunt" and her refusal to concede the election serves as a "ridiculous temper tantrum".

Invoking a statute that has never before been used in a major election in the state, Abrams' team is collecting evidence from across the state that her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, was behind "misconduct, fraud, or irregularities.sufficient to change or place in doubt the results".

In a statement, Kemp said, "Moments ago, Stacey Abrams conceded the race and officially ended her campaign for governor".

The speech was not, however, a concession, she said, because "concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper".

State officials can certify the results at any time now that a 5 p.m. Friday deadline has passed.

As secretary of state, Kemp also served as Georgia's chief election officer and refused to resign or recuse himself from his position until two days after the general elections.

"We can no longer dwell on the divisive politics of the past but must focus on Georgia's bright and promising future", he said.

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The state is able to certify election results Friday night, according to a ruling by a federal judge earlier this week.

Abrams, 44, had considered a court challenge to force a runoff, which is allowed by state law if neither candidate gets a majority of the vote. Democrats said Kemp's shotgun ad showed him to be "reckless" and "irresponsible". The lawsuits also have revealed a lack of uniformity in how counties address problems with absentee and provisional ballots.

"I don't want to hold public office if I need to scheme my way into the post", she said.

Meanwhile, Georgia will head to a runoff on December 4 in one key contest, the one to replace Kemp as secretary of state, a position that was closely scrutinized this cycle over progressive accusations of voter suppression. The lawsuit alleged that the "exact match" law disproportionately affected black voters. Abrams' campaign had contended there were potentially enough uncounted votes to force a runoff.

In Florida, volunteers are conducting a legally required hand recount of votes in that state's acrimonious senatorial contest. She accused Kemp of using the secretary of state's office to aggressively purge the rolls of inactive voters, enforce an "exact match" policy for checking voters' identities that left thousands of registrations in limbo and other measures to tile the outcome in his favor.

Democrat Stacey Abrams effectively ends her challenge to Republican Brian Kemp; Steve Harrigan reports from Atlanta.

Kemp had been secretary of state since 2010. With the rapidly diversifying and growing Atlanta suburbs, Democrats have been arguing the state could turn blue, but this is the closest they've gotten to making that dream a reality.

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