After a hard-fought and often nasty campaign, Georgia’s Secretary of State Brian Kemp has won the race to become the state’s next governor over House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.
Kemp eked out a victory with fewer than 70,000 votes separating him from Abrams. Quixotic Libertarian candidate Ted Metz picked up just over 37,000 votes.
Kemp has declared victory in the race. His campaign manager Cody Hall told the media:
“Based on counts released by the Secretary of State’s office, Brian Kemp’s margin is so large that the number of provisional ballots and overseas ballots will not change his Election Day victory,” Hall said. “Simply put, it is mathematically impossible for Stacey Abrams to win or force a run-off election.
“Peach State voters made a clear decision at the ballot box. Brian Kemp will now begin his transition as governor-elect of Georgia. He will work every day to keep our state moving in the right direction.”
Naturally, Abrams has refused to accept the results. She claims that there are still votes to be counted, and she believes that those votes can push her over the edge. Her campaign said so in a statement.
“These counties also represent heavily-Democratic leaning constituencies, and the majority of those votes are anticipated to be for Stacey Abrams,” the statement read. The campaign also said absentee ballots could make a difference.
“Across our state, folks are opening up the dreams of voters in absentee ballots, and we believe our chance for a stronger Georgia is just within reach,” Abrams said Wednesday morning.
The race has gotten national attention – largely because if Abrams wins, she will become the first African-American female governor of any state. Part of the attention stems from the accusations of voter suppression. Those claims relate to federal regulations for clearing voter rolls of inactive names, a rule that is outside of Kemp’s control.
Even former Vermont governor Howard Dean has weighed in:
She should not concede. The election was almost certainly stolen by a candidate who supervised his own “election” https://t.co/MhkldKyThu
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) November 7, 2018
Granted, it’s not a good look that Kemp’s job is to oversee the elections process, but I’m sure he has considered that fact at every step of the campaign. I also believe that he has done everything above board and that the election has been completely fair. (Full disclosure: I supported Kemp in this election.)
But for Abrams to dig in her heels when the numbers do not work in her favor and for outsiders like Dean to add fuel to the fire only prolongs an already grueling and exhausting election and does nothing to heal a deeply divided state. Abrams’ policies would have been bad enough for Georgia had she won, but her behavior in the aftermath of an election that has wearied the state’s voters is a detriment to the process. She needs to gracefully admit defeat and vow to continue the fight for her convictions in a different manner.
The election is over, and Brian Kemp was the victor. It’s time for Stacey Abrams to accept that fact and move on.