In the race for Georgia governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp, things are still undecided, but Kemp is ready to move on. Today, Kemp resigned as Secretary of State in order to focus on transitioning to the office of governor, according to a story from the New York Times. Kemp declared victory in the midterms, but with some ballots uncounted, the race is still close enough to require a runoff.
Many news outlets still say the race is too close to call, and Abrams has not conceded.
“All the votes haven’t been counted,” John Chandler, a lawyer for the Abrams campaign, said. “How can anyone claim a victory when there are enough votes that have not been counted that could cause a runoff here? We believe that everybody is entitled to have their vote counted.”
Abrams’ campaign manager urged the Republican not to declare victory at this point.
“We know our opponent has had the secretary of state’s office declare he is the winner. We are here to say we don’t accept that,” said Lauren Groh-Wargo.
But Kemp’s people say that things are settled at this point and are ready to move on.
“Simply put, it is mathematically impossible for Stacey Abrams to win or force a runoff election,” Kemp spokesman Cody Hall said. “Peach State voters made a clear decision at the ballot box.”
Prominent Republicans are already congratulating Kemp on his win, including current governor Nathan Deal.
My congratulations to Gov.-elect @BrianKempGA. He and his opponent both ran passionate campaigns with very different visions about how to keep Georgia on this path of prosperity, and I believe the voters of Georgia made the correct decision in electing Brian.— Governor Nathan Deal (@GovernorDeal) November 7, 2018
Democrats say that Kemp’s quick claim to victory only continues what they see as his disregard for holding a fair election. In the past few months, the Republican has received criticism for his use of the office of Secretary of State to block, freeze, and throw out voter registrations, as well as purging existing voters, in an election in which he was running. A court blocked some of Kemp’s attempts to block new voters, and progressives criticized his moves as an abuse of power.
Former president and former governor of Georgia Jimmy Carter urged Kemp to step down because his actions could be interpreted as subverting democracy with an election authority that wasn’t “independent and impartial.”
Kemp refused to step down and continued to take steps that appeared to be impartial. On the weekend before the election, the former Secretary of State opened an investigation into the Democratic Party of Georgia. It was later revealed that the Democratic party had attempted to report potential voter system weaknesses and many accused Kemp of opening the investigation as a political stunt to gain last-minute votes.