Kemp says Georgia race over, state to look ahead

Image via AP

After mulling some long-shot legal actions to force a runoff or even a re-running of the election, Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams ended her impressive but narrowly unsuccessful campaign, stepping out of the way of Republican Brian Kemp's ascension to the governorship, which he claimed several days ago. "But to watch an elected official who claims to represent the people in the state baldly pin his hopes for election on suppression of people's democratic right to vote has been truly appalling". By midday Friday, more than half of those counties had completed their review.

In the tense and testy closing weeks of the race, just about all that Georgia's Democrats and Republicans could agree on - besides desperately wanting the campaign to be over - was that Abrams would have carried a vastly different agenda into the governor's office. Officials have until noon on Sunday to tally any votes missed by electronic voting machines.

Mr Kemp's campaign, which has repeatedly called on Ms Abrams to concede, repeated that call, saying Ms Abrams and her supporters have used "fake vote totals", "desperate press conferences" and "dangerous lawsuits" to try to steal the election.

In another tight Florida contest, Republican Ron DeSantis appeared to secure the governor's seat over Democrat Andrew Gillum after the electronic recount showed DeSantis with a 0.4 percentage point lead, outside the threshold to trigger a hand recount.

In contrast, Georgia's Abrams did have a sizeable field operation going into the November 6 election.

Democrat Stacey Abrams effectively ends her challenge to Republican Brian Kemp; Steve Harrigan reports from Atlanta.

Both cases named Kemp-who was secretary of state until last Thursday-as a defendant, and both sought court orders involving thousands of rejected absentee ballots in Georgia's 159 counties.

"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. The team is now drafting a petition and securing affidavits from voters who said they were disenfranchised during this election.

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While describing a variety of issues at the polls, Abrams said that "the state failed its voters".

Video of Abrams' statement is below.

Kemp's victory will extend the GOP's hold on the governor's mansion.

Operating "as though the secretary of state's taxpayer-funded office [was] an arm of the campaign", as Abrams' campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, told NPR last week, Kemp kicked more than 100,000 Georgians off the voter rolls and changed 53,000 people's voter status to "pending" due to clerical errors on their registration forms.

Kemp accused the group of voter fraud and launched an investigation that found no wrongdoing. In a new radio ad, the campaign listed some of the hurdles and barriers. This standing gave him about 18,000 votes above the threshold required to win by a majority and avoid a December 4 runoff. In her speech, Abrams noted eyewitness accounts of voters who were not on local precinct lists and were turned away-not even given a provisional ballot.

The decision could ultimately fall to the state's Supreme Court.

"This ruling solidifies Brian Kemp's insurmountable lead". The former state lawmaker became a national political celebrity with her bid to become the first black woman in American history to be elected governor.

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