Stacey Abrams admitted Friday afternoon that Republican Brian Kemp had won the race for Governor in Georgia but said she was not willing to offer a typical concession speech. From NPR:
“I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election,” Abrams said. “But to watch an elected official who claims to represent the people in this state baldly pin his hopes for election on suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote has been truly appalling.”
In a fiery speech, Abrams insisted this was no normal concession, decrying the voter “deliberate and intentional” voter suppression by Kemp that she believed had led to this conclusion.
“Pundits and hyper-partisans will hear my words as a rejection of the normal order. You see, I’m supposed to say nice things and accept my fate. They will complain that I should not use this moment to recap what was done wrong or to demand a remedy. You see, as a leader I should be stoic in my outrage and silent in my rebuke,” Abrams said. “But stoicism is a luxury and silence is a weapon for those who would quiet the voices of the people. And I will not concede because the erosion of our democracy is not right.”
Video of Abrams’ statement is below. I’ll just note this one bit which I don’t see being widely reported at the moment. Talking to people discouraged by the outcome Abrams said, “In response, you may seek to vent your anger or worse to turn away from politics because it can be as rotten and rigged as you’ve always believed.” That seems reminiscent of another candidate whose complaints about a rigged election were taken as an affront to the democratic process just a couple of years ago. Are Democrats going to condemn this language now?
The Associated Press reports that Abrams had considered challenging the election as fraud but finally decided not to do that:
Officials from Abrams’ campaign had told The Associated Press on Thursday that the candidate was considering the unprecedented move of invoking a state law that would let her challenge the results based on “misconduct, fraud or irregularities … sufficient to change or place in doubt the results.”
But ultimately she declined to do so.
However, NPR reports she will be filing some sort of federal lawsuit against the state of Georgia, albeit one which won’t challenge the outcome of this election. Finally, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes that the vote tally showed Kemp with a considerable lead, one that additional legal challenges were unlikely to overcome:
The latest tally showed Abrams is roughly 55,000 votes behind Kemp — and in need of more than 17,000 votes to force a Dec. 4 runoff. Georgia law requires a runoff if no candidate gets a majority of the vote, which is only a possibility because a third-party contender netted about 1 percent…
Kemp’s lead had dwindled since Election Day as absentee and provisional ballots trickled in. But as more counties completed their vote tallies, Abrams and her allies claimed there were thousands of outstanding ballots that never materialized.
Despite all the fiery rhetoric, Stacey Abrams conceded because she lost the election. Instead of conceding graciously, she decided to take Hillary Clinton’s path and argue her opponent’s victory was somehow illegitimate. If she really believed she could prove that, she’d have pushed the issue under state law. She didn’t which suggests she believes if this were put to a real legal test it would fail. But even if she knows can’t prove it, she continues to say it’s why she lost. The real erosion to our democracy happening here is that, once again, Democrats can’t admit that sometimes they lose close races. Over to you Andrew Gillum…
Here’s the majority of Abrams’ statement: