Stacey Abrams vs. Brian Kemp: In Tight Georgia Race, Abrams Refuses to Concede

Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia, declined to concede the tight race to Republican political rival Brian Kemp today, telling her supporters to expect a runoff. She said voters would soon have the chance for a “do-over.”

Abrams, who if successful would become the first female African-American governor in U.S. history, has gained 48.3 percent of the votes, compared with Kemp’s 50.8 percent, as of early Wednesday morning. Ted Metz, the Libertarian candidate, attracted 0.9 percent. But Abrams said that there were still more votes to be counted, and that people should plan for a December 4 runoff election.

After a long night, Abrams pledged: “Georgia still has a decision to make. To all of Georgia’s voters, including the 1.2 million who haven't shown up before, welcome aboard. If I wasn’t your first choice or if you made no choice at all you are going to have a chance to do a do-over.”

Stacey Abrams Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams addresses supporters at an election watch party on November 6, in Atlanta. She has refused to concede the tight race to Republican rival Brian Kemp today, telling her supporters to expect a runoff. Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

It has been a contentious and headline-grabbing race. In the state of Georgia, the top two candidates advance to a runoff it neither candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote. While Kemp has reached that threshold, Abrams said on Wednesday that “votes remain to be counted."

“There are voices that are waiting to be heard,” she told supporters while taking to the podium this morning, in an address that was streamed to Facebook. “Across our state, folks are opening up the dreams of voters in absentee ballots, and 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 are going to make sure every vote is counted. Every single vote.”

Kemp, who as Georgia's secretary of state oversees elections, including the race in which he is running, has been accused of voter suppression. A lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, attempted to ban Kemp from having any involvement in the counting of votes because of his alleged “clear bias.” The suit was dismissed by Kemp's office as a “twelfth-hour stunt.”

On Sunday, two days before the vote, Kemp claimed he was investigating a “failed attempt to hack the state’s voter registration system.” He alleged that it was somehow linked to the Democratic Party. In 2016, Kemp made a similar accusation, claiming that an intrusion attempt had been discovered on voting systems. The suggestion was widely discredited.

In response, Abrams called his hacking rhetoric a "desperate attempt" to distract voters. On Twitter today, her campaign wrote: “We will fight for every vote. The best is yet to come.”

Brian Kemp Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp attends the Election Night event at the Classic Center on November 6, 2018 in Athens, Georgia. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

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