Democrat Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams admitted Friday that she cannot win against Republican opponent Brian Kemp and vowed to file a federal lawsuit challenging the “gross mismanagement” of the state’s elections
Abrams made her announcement shortly after 5 p.m., the earliest state officials could certify the results after a court-ordered review of absentee, provisional and other uncounted ballots. Abrams’ campaign had contended there were potentially enough uncounted votes to force a runoff.
Abrams told supporters that Kemp placed “his hopes for election on the suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote.”
“Concession means to acknowledge an act is right, true or proper…I cannot concede that,” she added.
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Further, Abrams revealed she will file a federal lawsuit to challenge the “gross mismanagement” of Georgia elections.
“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 said.
Abrams had hoped to become the first black governor of the Deep South state and the first black female governor of any state.
Abrams and voting rights activists have claimed for months that Kemp mismanaged the elections system in his post as secretary of state. Previous reports stated Abrams was considering an unprecedented legal challenge in the unresolved Georgia governor’s race that could leave the state’s Supreme Court deciding whether to force another round of voting.
Allegra Lawrence-Hardy, Abrams’ campaign chairwoman, is overseeing a team of almost three-dozen lawyers who in the coming days will draft the petition, along with a ream of affidavits from voters and would-be voters who say they were disenfranchised. Abrams could then decide whether to go to court under a provision of Georgia election law that allows losing candidates to challenge results based on “misconduct, fraud or irregularities … sufficient to change or place in doubt the results.”
The legal team is “considering all options,” Lawrence-Hardy said earlier, including federal court remedies. Some Democrat legal observers note Abrams would be dependent on statutes that set a high bar for the court to intervene.
Kemp’s campaign, which already has shifted into transition mode had presumed he would be inaugurated in January, criticized Abrams for pushing a “publicity stunt” and said her refusal to concede is a “ridiculous temper tantrum.”
Unofficial returns show Kemp with 50.2 percent of more than 3.9 million votes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.