- Jessica McGowan/Getty Images
- Stacey Abrams, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georgia, refused to concede against her opponent, Republican Brian Kemp. She hinted at a possible runoff during a speech to her supporters early Wednesday morning.
- Abrams, who received high-profile endorsements from Oprah Winfrey and President Barack Obama, would have become the first black female governor in the US if she won the election.
- Kemp, the 54-year-old Georgia secretary of state, continues the Republican Party’s winning streak for Georgia’s governorship since 2002.
- The results of Georgia’s gubernatorial race resembled that of Florida’s, where Republican candidate Ron DeSantis triumphed over Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum.
Stacey Abrams, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georgia, refused to concede against her opponent, Republican Brian Kemp, in a closely watched election that has attracted endorsements from high-profile celebrities and politicians.
Despite trailing Kemp by around 3 percentage points with 90% of precincts reporting, Abrams appeared optimistic during a speech in Atlanta on Tuesday night.
In an apparent reference to absentee ballots, Abrams suggested there would be a runoff and said there were “voices that are waiting to be heard.”
Abrams assured that “every vote is counts,” and said that “in a civilized nation, the machinery of democracy should work for everyone, everywhere.”
Abrams, who received high-profile endorsements from Oprah Winfrey and President Barack Obama, would have become the first black female governor in the US if she won the election. She was also the first black woman to be a major party nominee during a gubernatorial election.
The 44-year-old Atlanta-based attorney downplayed the historical significance of her potential win on the eve of Election Day.
“I don’t want anyone to vote for me because I’m black,” Abrams said in Savannah on Monday. “And no one on the ballot needs a vote because we’re women. And I don’t even want you to vote for us just because we’re Democrats. You need to vote for us because we’re better.”
Kemp, the 54-year-old Georgia secretary of state, continues the Republican Party’s winning streak for Georgia’s governorship since 2002.
Kemp was embroiled in controversy in the days leading up to the election.
On Sunday, Kemp announced he would investigate the Georgia Democratic Party for an alleged hacking attempt into the state’s voter registration system – without providing ample evidence of his allegation.
Abrams and Democrat officials denied the charges and described it as a “witch hunt that was created by someone who is abusing his power.”
The following day, Protect Democracy, a non-profit voter advocacy group, filed a lawsuit against Kemp in light of “extreme bias” against Abrams and the “accusations to deflect blame for his own failures to address flaws in the election system.”
If successful, the lawsuit would prevent Kemp from performing his official duties as Georgia’s secretary of state, including a recount of his own election.
The lawsuit was in addition to another legal action against Kemp.
On Thursday, a coalition of civil rights groups sued Kemp on accusations that he stonewalled over 50,000 voter registrations, the majority of which were from Blacks, Latinos, or Asian Americans. According to a 2017 voting law, election officials may put “on hold” any voter registration application that does not match existing identification records. This “exact match” requirement would flag and stall registrations with minor errors, including misspelled names or a dropped hyphen.
The outcome of Georgia’s gubernatorial election resembled other states on Election Day. In Florida, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum conceded to Republican candidate Ron DeSantis after trailing by one percentage point, or around 76,000 votes.
Similar to Kemp, DeSantis secured President Donald Trump’s endorsement, while Gillum and Abrams received endorsements from Obama.