The Slatest

Kemp Is So Sure He Won the Georgia Governor’s Race, He Resigned as Secretary of State

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 06:  Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp attends the Election Night event at the Classic Center on November 6, 2018 in Athens, Georgia.  Kemp is in a close race with Democrat Stacey Abrams.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Brian Kemp attends the Election Night event at the Classic Center on Tuesday in Athens, Georgia. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Brian Kemp has declared victory over Stacey Abrams in the Georgia governor’s race and will step down as secretary of state while he starts the transition process.

“The votes are not there for her,” Kemp said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I respect the hard-fought race she ran. But we won the race and we’re moving forward.”

Abrams has hinted to her supporters that she would not concede and instead wait to see if the final tally would show Kemp’s proportion of votes dipping below 50 percent, at which point there would be a runoff on Dec. 4.

“We are going to make sure that every vote is counted—because in a civilized nation, the machinery of democracy should work everywhere for everyone,” Abrams said Wednesday, according to the Washington Post.

The numbers are daunting for her. Kemp currently has 50.3 percent of the vote, which exceeds the 50 percent mark by 13,000 votes. Abrams down by around 63,000 votes, claiming 1,910,390 compared with Kemp’s 1,973,099. The secretary of state’s office said Wednesday that there were “less than 22,000 provisional ballots cast state-wide,” and that it was still on track to certify election results by Wednesday after verifying provision ballots by Tuesday. The Abrams campaign has hinted that mail-in ballots yet to be counted could push her total up and Kemp’s majority down.

The race, and especially the actual casting of ballots, was very closely watched, as Kemp has been accused for years of trying to suppress and discourage Democratic and especially African-American voting in Georgia. Meanwhile, Kemp accused the Georgia Democratic Party, without evidence, of trying to hack into the voter registration system just days before the election. He made a similar accusations against the Department of Homeland Security in 2016.

A group called Protect Democracy sued Kemp on election night to prevent him from presiding over the counting or certification of votes.*

The Post reported that “more than 1,800 machines sat idle in storage in three of the state’s largest and most heavily Democratic counties,” and that “the ratio of machines to registered voters was lower than it had been in 2014,” possibly leading to delays in voting. The machines were being held in storage because they were evidence in a lawsuit filed against the state last year by voting rights activists demanding the use of paper ballots instead of touch screens.

Correction, Nov. 8, 2018: Due to an editing error, this post originally identified the plaintiffs in the election night lawsuit as a group of Abrams supporters. Protect Democracy has no affiliation with and expresses no support of Stacey Abrams.