ATLANTA - After a week and a half of legal battles and ballot counting, the Democratic candidate for Georgia governor, Stacey Abrams, says she knows Republican Brian Kemp will be declared governor of Georgia, but refused to officially 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 Friday evening. "This is not a speech of concession. Because concession means to acknowledge an action that's right, true or proper. As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede that."
Abrams said she plans to file a lawsuit to challenge the "gross mismanagement" of Georgia elections.
"To watch an elected official who claims to represent the people in the state boldly pin his hopes on suppression on the people's democratic right to vote, has been truly appalling," Abrams said. "Voting is not a right for some. It is a right for all and it is not a privilege. I stand here today as a witness to that truth."
Stacey Abrams delivered a non-concession concession speech but acknowledged that Brian Kemp will be certified governor-elect. More at 6. pic.twitter.com/E0gfVxKHML— Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) November 16, 2018
Abrams announced her legal team will soon file what she called a massive federal lawsuit under a new initiative called “Fair Fight Georgia,” which she said will be dedicated to pursuing sweeping election reforms in Georgia.
Minutes after she finished speaking, Kemp released the following statement.
“Moments ago, Stacey Abrams conceded the race and officially ended her campaign for governor. I appreciate her passion, hard work, and commitment to public service. The election is over and hardworking Georgians are ready to move forward. We can no longer dwell on the divisive politics of the past but must focus on Georgia’s bright and promising future.
"Under the leadership of Governors Perdue and Deal, our state has experienced unmatched growth and prosperity. We will work diligently in the transition process to build on their accomplishments and keep Georgia moving in the right direction.
“I humbly ask for citizens of our great state to stand with me in the days ahead. Together, we will realize the opportunities and tackle the challenges to come. We will be a state that puts hardworking Georgians – no matter their zip code or political preference - first!”
The results of the race are not official until certified by the new Secretary of State. The state has until Tuesday to do that.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.