Although she acknowledged that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp would be certified as Georgia governor, Stacey Abrams opened her defiant speech announcing the end of her gubernatorial race with stories of voter irregularity and suppression that characterized the election.
“Georgia citizens tried to exercise their constitutional rights and were still denied the ability to elect their leaders. Under the watch of the now former Secretary of State, democracy failed Georgians of every political party, every race, every region,” she told the crowd of gathered supporters.
Abrams and Democrats had hoped she would become the nation’s first African-American female governor, but as of Friday, she trailed Kemp by 54,801 votes out of 3.9 million total. That gave Kemp 50.2 percent of the votes, helping him narrowly avoid a runoff election in December.
Stacey Abrams: "To watch an elected official who claims to represent the people in this state baldly pin his hopes for election on the suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote has been truly appalling. So let’s be clear: This is not a speech of concession." (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/n4jyBXIFTG
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 16, 2018
Because so many voters, especially minorities, were disenfranchised by Kemp’s actions, since he presided as secretary of state over his own election for governor, Abrams announced the campaign “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,” but she added that she would “pray for the success of Brian Kemp that he will indeed be a leader of all Georgians.”
President Donald Trump tweeted Friday evening to congratulate Kemp on his victory, saying that Abrams “fought brilliantly and hard” and “she will have a terrific political future!”
Congratulations to Brian Kemp on becoming the new Governor of Georgia. Stacey Abrams fought brilliantly and hard – she will have a terrific political future! Brian was unrelenting and will become a great Governor for the truly Wonderful People of Georgia!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2018
Kemp issued a statement following Abrams’s speech and said, “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.”