As Stacey Abrams hits the campaign trail for a second Georgia gubernatorial race, Republicans are scrambling to make her current run all about her previous one in 2018. According to Politico, Republicans are zeroing in on Abrams' final speech after the 2018 gubernatorial election.
At the time, Abrams made it clear that her speech was not a concession. Now, Republicans are comparing her stance to former President Donald Trump's refusal to concede after losing the 2020 presidential election to President Joe Biden. The point of their argument: "On respecting the will of the voters, Democrats are being hypocrites."
A Republican strategist in Georgia recently weighed in on that argument. "Democrats attack Trump and Republicans for believing these conspiracies, believing what they call the 'Big Lie.' But the original Big Lie proponent was Stacey Abrams," said Brian Robinson. "She was ahead of her time, as she is on so many things."
However, at the time, Abrams offered a different perspective on the definition of concession. When she delivered her final speech 10 days after the election, she laid out her argument and explained why she would not concede. "Concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper. As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede," Abrams told her supporters in 2018. "But my assessment is that the law currently allows no further viable remedy."
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Even now, Abrams is still standing by her belief. During a recent appearance on CNN this month, Abrams said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) "won under the rules of the game at the time, but the game was rigged against the voters of Georgia."
"I, on November 16, 2018, acknowledged at the top of my speech that Brian Kemp is the governor of Georgia and I even wished him well at the end of the speech," Abrams said. "And in the middle, I talked about the fact we had a system that he managed, that he manipulated, hurt Georgia voters and the responsibility of leaders is to challenge systems that are not serving the people."
After the election, Fair Fight Action —the group Abrams founded shortly after the 2018 gubernatorial election to combat voter suppression— filed a lawsuit that cited "among other items Georgia's exact-match law, claiming that it disproportionately targeted first-time minority voters. In addition, it alleges that elections officials were not properly trained to cancel absentee ballots, barring access to the ballot for scores of voters who opted to vote in person."
Seth Bringman, one of Abrams' spokespersons, also reiterated her stance.
"After Election Day in 2018, the Abrams campaign went to federal court, multiple judges agreed with our claims and more Georgians' votes were counted," said Bringman. "She acknowledged the result of the election but refused to accept that it was fair to the voters — and she worked to change Georgia's voting system for elections moving forward."
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