US midterms: Stacey Abrams acknowledges GOP victory in Georgia governor race ten days after election

Former attorney who was vying to be Georgia's first black, female governor vows to bring lawsuit against state over 'gross mismanagement' of election by rival Brian Kemp

Alex Matthews-King
Sunday 18 November 2018 00:06
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Stacey Abrams: 'This is not a speech of concession'

The hotly contested race for Georgia’s governorship has ended, more than 10-days after the polls closed, with Democrat candidate Stacey Abrams acknowledging she could not win but vowing to challenge the outcome.

In a speech on Friday she hit out at her rival, Republican Brian Kemp who is Georgia’s secretary of state and the man in charge of the state’s election, for “gross mismanagement” of the process.

While acknowledging she couldn’t win in this election, she vowed to file a lawsuit against the state of Georgia to challenge these failures and safeguard future elections.

Her campaign team have argued measures Mr Kemp introduced to toughen voter eligibility requirements resulted in massive voter suppression and wrongly left thousands of ballots uncounted.

Ms Abrams said in her speech: “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. Concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper, as a woman of conscience and faith I cannot concede that. My assessment is that the law currently allows no further viable remedy.”

Stacey Abrams: 'I'm supposed to say nice things and accept my fate'

“In the coming days, we will be filing a major federal lawsuit against the state of Georgia for the gross mismanagement of this election and to protect future elections,” she added.

Campaigners had been lobbying to stop Mr Kemp overseeing the race he was part of, saying his involvement “violates the basic notion of fairness” and even filed a lawsuit against him on election day.

Ms Abrams, a 44-year-old attorney and former lawmaker, would have made history as America’s first black female governor.

But Mr Kemp, a 55-year-old former businessman, will retain the governor’s office for the Republicans and responded to the concession with a call for unity.

In a news conference on Saturday he defended his actions, saying “Look, we have laws on the books that prevent elections from being stolen from anyone.”

He also congratulated Ms Abrams and said: “She ran one heck of a campaign and I know she can be proud of that effort.”

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