Georgia’s gubernatorial election fight appears to be far from over, with Democrat Stacey Abrams’ campaign digging in and predicting a runoff even as Republican candidate Brian Kemp declares victory and resigns from his post as secretary of state.
Kemp resigned as secretary of state Thursday morning in federal court. Russ Willard, a lawyer with the attorney general’s office, said Kemp will not perform any election-related duties. An interim secretary will oversee the rest of the vote counting.
His resignation came ahead of a hearing Thursday for a lawsuit brought against Kemp by five Georgia voters, who urged that Kemp be barred from exercising duties as the state’s chief elections officer during the vote count. The Abrams campaign also has accused Kemp of using his role as secretary of state to influence the process.
According to the Associated Press vote totals with all precincts reporting, Kemp has 1,972,952 votes to Abrams’ 1,909,730 –giving him 50.3 percent to her 48.7 percent. A first-ever gubernatorial runoff could have been triggered if neither candidate had cleared the 50 percent mark. At a Thursday news conference with outgoing Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, Kemp said only about 20,000 provisional ballots remain uncounted in the gubernatorial race. He said that even if Abrams “got 100 percent of those votes, we still win.”
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