Democrat Stacey Abrams on Friday ended her campaign in the hotly contested Georgia governor’s race, saying she saw "no legal path forward" against Republican Brian Kemp.
Her announcement effectively brings to an end a bitter governor's race mired by accusations of voter suppression from Abrams and her Democratic allies.
"I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial elections," Abrams said during her speech while surrounded by supporters.
“But to watch an elected official – who claims to represent the people of this state, baldly pin his hopes for election on the suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote – has been truly appalling,” she added.
Abrams said that she would not use the legal system to attempt to "scheme" her way into office, but emphasized that her announcement did not amount to a "concession" to Kemp, saying to do so would acknowledge "that an action was right."
“Concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper,” she said. “As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede. But my assessment is that the law currently allows no further viable remedy.”
Abrams also threatened a lawsuit over "mismanagement" of Georgia's elections by Kemp, the state's governor-elect and former secretary of state, adding that she was convinced that months of "incompetence" in Kemp's office had contributed to her defeat.
While The Associated Press and no major new outlets have called the race, Kemp currently leads Abrams by more than 58,000 votes, or 1.5 percentage points.
The Georgia race was mired by accusations of voter suppression from Abrams, citing frustrations over thousands of voter registrations that were removed from voter rolls.
Republicans including President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE had been pressuring Abrams to concede in the days since last Tuesday’s elections, saying she lacked the votes necessary to force a runoff under state law.
Kemp had already declared victory and stepped down as Georgia’s secretary of state as he began his transition to the governor’s mansion, though the race had yet to be called.
Abrams’s campaign and legal team remained defiant for over a week since the midterm elections, insisting that they wouldn’t back down until all the votes were counted.
They maintained that the remaining uncounted ballots were enough to shrink Kemp’s total to below 50 percent, which would then automatically trigger a Dec. 4 runoff.
Abrams’s team had filed several lawsuits asking for certain mail-in ballots and provisionals to be counted.
A federal judge on Thursday delivered a split decision that was celebrated by both campaigns. The judge ruled that the secretary of state couldn’t certify the results until absentee ballots with missing or incorrect birth dates were counted. But at the same time, wouldn’t accept those with inaccurate addresses or provisionals cast by people voting in a wrong county.
Updated: 6:50 p.m.