Democrat admits defeat in hard-fought Georgia governor race, vows to sue

Frederick Owens
November 17, 2018

Earlier today, it was reported that Stacey Abrams' campaign was preparing an unprecedented legal challenge in the unresolved Georgia governor's race that could leave the state's Supreme Court deciding whether to force another round of voting.

Democrat Stacey Abrams on Friday ended her efforts to become Georgia's next governor, but used her final speech on the contest to bitterly complain about voter suppression in the state.

"In the coming days, Fair Fight Georgia will be filing a major federal lawsuit against the state of Georgia for the gross mismanagement of this election and to protect future elections from unconstitutional actions", it continued.

Abrams, a 44-year-old Yale-educated lawyer, has been a Democrat in the Georgia legislature for about 10 years, serving as minority leader from 2011 to 2017 in the traditionally Republican southern state.

While Kemp had declared himself the victor on election night, Abrams, who would have been the first black woman governor in the nation, had been fighting for a recount.

Kemp stormed to the Republican nomination behind an unabashedly conservative platform and an endorsement from President Donald Trump.

Abrams had previously described Kemp as an "architect of voter suppression" and in her remarks said he had purposefully made the process a "gut-wrenching hardship" for many in Georgia.

Two days before the election, Kemp's office announced, citing scant evidence, that it was opening an inquiry into the state Democratic Party after what the office called "a failed attempt to hack the state's voter registration system". He responded to Abrams ending her campaign by calling for unity and praising his opponent's "passion, hard work, and commitment to public service". Kemp now has 50.2 percent of the vote and 18,000 more votes than he needs to avoid a run-off.

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Abrams would assert that enough irregularities occurred to raise the possibility that at least 18,000 Georgians either had their ballots thrown out or were not allowed to vote.

"Let's be clear: This is not a speech of concession", Abrams said. Abrams, however, stressed she's not conceding.

"If Stacey Abrams doesn't win in Georgia, they stole it". Election turnout among both sides' energized bases almost equaled that of the 2016 presidential vote.

Kemp issued a statement late on Friday noting the election was "over and hard-working Georgians are ready to move forward".

Abrams' campaign sparked huge energy across the state and she became a national Democratic star. "The campaign is over, and Kemp's focus is on building a safer, stronger future for Georgia families", Kemp campaign spokesman Ryan Mahoney said.

In neighboring Florida, election officials were conducting a hand recount of ballots in a closely-watched US Senate race that is tilting in the Republican candidate's favor. Talking to people discouraged by the outcome Abrams said, "In response, you may seek to vent your anger or worse to turn away from politics because it can be as rotten and rigged as you've always believed".

Democrats beyond Georgia have started to echo the notion that a Kemp victory would be illegitimate.

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