Stacey Abrams refuses to give up: Georgia governor race still too close to call

Abrams is refusing to concede an election that many claimed had been rigged by her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published November 7, 2018 8:51AM (EST)

Stacey Abrams (Kevin Carlin)
Stacey Abrams (Kevin Carlin)

Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for Georgia governor, is not conceding to her Republican opponent, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, by claiming that not every vote in the state has been counted.

"Tonight we have closed the gap between yesterday and tomorrow. But we still have a few more miles to go," Abrams told a crowd of cheering supporters as the election results came in, according to NPR. She also made it clear that, despite being behind Kemp in the most recent vote counts, she does not consider the election to have been decided yet.

"We believe our chance for a stronger Georgia is just within reach, but we cannot seize it until all voices are heard. And I promise you tonight we're going to make sure that every vote is counted. Every single vote," Abrams told her supporters on Wednesday morning.

Kemp, by contrast, expressed confidence in his seemingly inevitable victory; currently the margin between Kemp and Abrams is less than 100,000 votes, although because Kemp's tally equals more than 50 percent of the total, that will be enough to prevent a runoff should the margin hold.

"The math is on our side to win this election," Kemp told his audience. "We are waiting on the final results, but I'm confident that victory is near."

Greg Bluestein of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution elaborated on the raw mathematical logic behind Abrams' refusal to concede:

In a 4 a.m. dispatch, the Democrat’s campaign explained why Abrams could net the roughly 25,000 ballots needed to trigger a Dec. 4 runoff against Kemp. The runoff would be necessary if neither candidate gets a majority-vote needed to win outright.

Her campaign argued that only a portion of the mail-in ballots in three metro Atlanta counties – Cobb, DeKalb and Gwinnett – had yet to be counted. And four other large Democratic-leaning counties – Athens-Clarke, Chatham, Douglas and Henry – hadn’t tallied any mail-in ballots by 4 a.m.

In all, those seven counties are expected to return at least 77,000 mail-in ballots, the Abrams campaign said.

Another 20,000 or so absentee ballots are set to be counted in Gwinnett County, as are a range of provisional and paper ballots, some cast because of technical issues at polling precincts.

Another factor that may be influencing Abrams' decisions are the ongoing problems that occurred on Election Day throughout the state. In addition to the technical issues in Gwinnett County, Georgia also suffered from long lines at various polling places, as well as technical issues in areas of the state beyond the borders of Gwinnett County.

Before Election Day as well, Georgia was dealing with election-related controversy due to Kemp overseeing the purging of hundreds of thousands of Georgia voters from the rolls. The fact that Kemp was Secretary of State overseeing an election in which he was a candidate caused many prominent Georgians, including former President Jimmy Carter, to call for him to resign from his official post.

"Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state, purged 550,702 Georgians from the voter rolls in 2016 and 2017 — that is, canceled their registrations. I’m not guessing," journalist Greg Palast told Salon last month. "After much resistance, Kemp turned over the names and addresses of each one of these purged voters in response to a threat of a federal lawsuit (which I filed in federal court in Atlanta and served on Kemp Friday)."

He added, "Of these, we are certain that 340,134 were wrongly removed, with no notice that they were purged. I want to thank Salon for your report, which went viral, letting Georgians know my foundation had listed all the names of the purged at Unfortunately, there were only a couple of days left to re-register, but it appears that thousands did so."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2018 Midterm Elections Brian Kemp Georgia Governor's Race Stacey Abrams