Trump congratulates Kemp, says Abrams will have 'terrific political future'

Trump congratulates Kemp, says Abrams will have 'terrific political future'
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpReturn hope to the Middle East by returning to the Iran Deal Government shutdowns tend to increase government spending 'Full Frontal' gives six-bedroom house to group that works with detained immigrants MORE on Friday congratulated Republican Brian Kemp on winning the Georgia governor's race after his opponent Stacey Abrams (D) ended her campaign.

Trump tweeted his congratulations to Kemp, who has stepped down as Georgia's secretary of state to take over as governor, while praising his Democratic opponent for her campaign.

"Stacey Abrams fought brilliantly and hard - she will have a terrific political future!" Trump tweeted, while lauding Kemp for being "unrelenting" in the race.

Trump’s praise of Abrams after she ended her campaign marked a departure from his tone on the Democrat during the race. In October, the president tweeted that she would “destroy the State” if she were elected governor.

Georgia’s gubernatorial race was far closer than most statewide contests in the Peach State, with each candidate staking ideological claims far from the center of the spectrum.

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Kemp closely aligned himself with the president and tied himself to his hard-line positions on issues like immigration, while Abrams was endorsed by several progressive groups.

The race was mired by accusations of voter fraud and voter suppression, and Abrams's campaign refused to call it quits for over a week after Election Day in hopes of forcing a December runoff.

Kemp currently leads Abrams by more than 58,000 votes, or 1.5 percentage points, and Abrams acknowledged Friday evening that she could not overcome the legal hurdle to continue with her campaign.

"I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election," Abrams said in a speech Friday.

“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.

She noted that as Georgia’s secretary of state, Kemp oversaw the ballot counting. She also said her campaign would file a lawsuit over "mismanagement" of the election by Kemp.

Abrams said the 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 that. But my assessment is that the law currently allows no further viable remedy.”

Trump on Friday night also congratulated Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisGoogle's most-searched politician of 2018 is Stacey Abrams Republicans are winning minority voters to make difference in 2020 Gillum to speak at gathering of top Dem donors: report MORE on defeating Democrat Andrew Gillum in Florida’s gubernatorial race, though Gillum has not conceded in that race after a recount when it was too close to call.

“Congratulations to Ron DeSantis on becoming the new Governor of Florida. Against all odds, he fought & fought & fought, the result being a historic victory. He never gave up and never will. He will be a great Governor!” Trump tweeted. 

DeSantis maintained a lead over Gillum of about 0.41 points after a machine recount wrapped up this week — larger than the threshold required for a hand recount. Still, Gillum did not concede, insisting that "tens of thousands of votes" remained to be counted.