“Democracy Failed Georgia”: Stacey Abrams Ends Governor Run Without Conceding
After a tumultuous race, Democrat Stacey Abrams has ended her gubernatorial run in Georgia, saying that she recognizes she cannot beat Republican Brian Kemp.
Their state’s battle for governor attracted national attention for several reasons. Had she won, Abrams would have been the first black woman elected governor in the U.S. But the election was marred by charges of voter suppression allegedly instigated by her opponent, Georgia’s Secretary of State—who did not recuse himself from overseeing a race in which he himself was running. The day before the state’s voter registration deadline, 53,000 registrations were put on hold because the names on record didn’t match their applications. 70 percent of those voters were black. 8 percent of Georgia’s registered voters were cut from voter rolls in late July 2017. During the election, counties threw out thousands of absentee ballots due to a variety of reasons, including signatures that didn’t match up with voter registration files.
“Under the watch of the now former secretary of state, democracy failed Georgia,” Abrams charged in her stirring announcement, which she insisted was not, technically, a concession.
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“Let’s be clear—this is not a speech of concession, because concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper,” she said. “As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede that. But, my assessment is the law currently allows no further viable remedy. Now, I can certainly bring a new case to keep this one contest alive, but I don’t want to hold public office if I need to scheme my way into the post. Because the title of governor isn’t nearly as important as our shared title—voters. And that is why we fight on.”
“Make no mistake, the former secretary of state was deliberate and intentional in his actions,” Abrams continued. “I know that eight years of systemic disenfranchisement, disinvestment and incompetence had its desired affect on the electoral process in Georgia.”
Her speech came at the end of her campaign’s effort to find enough votes to force a runoff election on December 4th.
While her fight for governor may be over, Abrams said that she is just beginning her battle against the erosion of voting rights in Georgia. She’ll be launching a new voting rights group, Fair Fight Georgia; her campaign also launched a commercial asking voters to tell their stories about trouble at the polls. Abrams is also planning to submit a major federal lawsuit against Georgia for the “gross mismanagement of this election and to protect future elections from unconstitutional actions,” she said. Kemp, meanwhile, issued his own statement about Abrams saying, “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.”