Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams acknowledged on Friday that GOP candidate Brian Kemp will be declared governor of Georgia, but refused to concede the election.
“I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election,” Abrams said in a news conference.
“This is not a speech of concession,” Abrams went on to say, “because concession means to acknowledge an action that’s right, true or proper. As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede that.”
A week of legal battles and ballot counting followed the contentious Georgia election. Kemp’s 54,801 vote lead out of 3.9 million votes cast put his total at 50.22– just above the 50 percent plus one vote threshold that would have required a run-off election.
Kemp, who was the Georgia secretary of state, didn’t step down from his post until after the midterm election on Nov. 6. According to Abrams, Kemp has a pattern of suppressing the votes of black, primarily through his use of the controversial voter regulating software – Exact Match.
On Nov. 2, NAACP Georgia State Conference and Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law won an injunction against the use of the software. According to an Associated Press report, Kemp’s decision not to process 53,000 voter registration applications directly impacted blacks, whose votes were predominantly at issue.
A federal judge decided that “exact match” rules for voter registration would not apply to the midterm vote.
Abrams would have become the nation’s first elected Black female governor had she won. She said she would soon bring “a major federal lawsuit against the state of Georgia for gross mismanagement of this election.”