Thursday, 15 Nov 2018

Georgia Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Brian Kemp Democrat Stacey Abrams declines to concede

Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp declared victory and resigned his position on Thursday as his race against Democrat Stacey Abrams remains unresolved.

Amid reports that thousands of voters were disenfranchised during the election, Kemp convened a news conference to announce that he had submitted his resignation as Georgia Secretary of State, effective Thursday.

"We won the race," Kemp told reporters. "It's very clear now. We are moving forward with the transition. "

Multiple lawsuits have been filed in the race, which had not been called by the Associated Press nor conceded by Abrams as of midday Thursday.

Abrams, who is running to the country's first black female governor, vowed to press the ballots. Her campaign believes that the ballots are counted, Kemp's margin of victory

Kemp had 50.3 percent of the votes to Abrams 48.7 percent with 100 percent of precincts reporting as of Thursday morning, according to the Associated Press.

This combination of May 20, 2018, Georgia gubernatorial candidate pictures Stacey Abrams, left, and Brian Kemp in Atlanta. (John Friends / AP)

"We are going to make sure that every day is counted – because in a civilized nation, the machinery of democracy should work everywhere for everyone," Abrams told supporters Wednesday.

Reports of voting problems had flooded the state on Tuesday, as well as a shortage of voting machines.

Noting that many of the reports come from communities with large minority populations, voting rights advocates. Kemp has strongly denied claims of impropriety.

Nonprofit group Protected Democracy Kemp's recollection of the governor's race. The group said Kemp's resignation on Thursday came just before a federal court hearing the case.

"This is a huge victory for democracy and the rule of law," Larry Schwartztol, Counsel for Protect Democracy, said in a statement. "It is a constitutional law that it is a question of their own case and that's what Brian Kemp was attempting to be here."

Kemp called the lawsuits "quite honestly, ridiculous."

"We're going to continue to fight that," he said Thursday. "The votes are not there for her."

Elsewhere in the state, Democrats triumphed in a tight Atlanta-area congressional race after Republican Rep. Karen Handel conceded to anti-gun violence advocate Lucy McBath.

Handel, who won herseat last year in a special election, wrote on Facebook that she "came up a bit short" in Tuesday's midterms.

"Congratulations to Representative-Elect Lucy McBath and I send her only good thoughts and much prayer for the journey ahead of her," Handel wrote Thursday.

McBath will come to Congress as part of the House's new Democratic majority. Her victory marked the party's 29th pickup in the lower chamber, with several races still undecided, according to a tally by The Washington Post.

McBath was a first-time congressional candidate who jumped into the race at the last minute, citing February's Mass Shooting at Marjory Stoneman High School Douglas in Parkland, Fla., That left 17 dead. She became an activist after her 17-year-old son was fatally shot in 2012 by a young man.

Several political forecasters had moved the race in Georgia's 6th Congressional District from "leans Republicans" to "toss-up" over the weekend. The Associated Press reported that McBath got 50.5 percent of the vote for Handel's 49.5 percent, with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

Handel's short-lived tenure in the House. Cam after the beat Democrat Jon Ossoff in the 2017 special election to replace outgoing Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Who left to become President Trump's first secretary of health and human services.

The race drew national attention as an early referendum on Trump in a District Republicans had held since 1979.


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