- The Washington Times - Friday, November 16, 2018

While claiming “democracy failed Georgia,” Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said Friday she will no longer stand in the way of officials, certifying Brian Kemp, the Republican, as the winner.

“This is not a concession speech,” Ms. Abrams said, delivering a fiery speech to supporters saying the voting process was poisoned from the start by Republicans — and in particular Mr. Kemp, who had been secretary of state until he resigned after the election.

State officials can certify the results at any time now that a 5 p.m. Friday deadline has passed.

Mr. Kemp holds a lead of about 60,000 votes over Ms. Kemp — and is some 17,000 votes above the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff. Ms. Abrams had been hoping to uncover enough votes to narrow that gap, bring Mr. Kemp below the majority point, and force a runoff.

Ms. Abrams had been bidding to become the first black woman to hold a governorship in the U.S.

“I don’t want to hold public office if I need to scheme my way into the post,” she said.

Earlier Friday her team had floated to local reporters the possibility of mounting a long-shot legal bid to overturn the results of the election. That would have required her to prove enough “misconduct, fraud or irregularities” that the outcome was sufficiently put in doubt.

She had amassed a team of nearly three dozen lawyers working on the plans, The Associated Press reported.

But the move drew fierce criticism, with Georgia Republicans saying she had long passed the point of being a gracious loser.

With her decision not to fight any longer, Ms. Abrams moves from candidate to Democratic martyr — joining Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke as election losers who still emerged with a massive following and a major national profile.

Ms. Abrams said her next step will be to create an organization dedicated to overhauling Georgia’s elections system. She said the group’s first step will be a federal lawsuit challenging the way this election was run.


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