Georgia Governor Race Is Still Up For Grabs With Republican Brian Kemp Leading

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

Republican Brian Kemp was leading several hours after polls closed in Georgia, but Democrat Stacey Abrams did not concede early Wednesday morning.

“Votes remain to be counted. There are voices that are waiting to be heard,” she said at her headquarters.

Georgia secretary of state had 53 percent of the vote with 94 percent of precincts reporting, while Abrams had 46.1 percent at the time of publication, according to The New York Times.

Abrams said she wanted every absentee ballot to be counted.

“I promise you tonight, we are going to make sure every vote is counted,” Abrams said. “Every single vote. … The machinery of democracy should work for everyone, everywhere.”

Abrams predicted Wednesday she would pull through in a runoff election and provide “fully-funded public education” and “Medicaid expansion.”

Secretary of State Brian Kemp addresses the audience and declares victory during an election watch party on July 24, 2018 in Athens, Georgia. Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Secretary of State Brian Kemp addresses the audience and declares victory during an election watch party on July 24, 2018 in Athens, Georgia. Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Abrams and Kemp were locked in a tight race for Georgia’s governor as polls in the month leading up to Election Day showed the candidates either tied or leading by a statistically insignificant amount.

Kemp’s office announced Sunday that it opened an investigation into the Georgia Democratic Party for allegedly attempting to hack the state’s voter registration system.

“While we cannot comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation, I can confirm that the Democratic Party of Georgia is under investigation for possible cyber-crimes,” a spokeswoman for the secretary of state, Candice Broce, said in a statement.

Abrams called the investigation “a desperate attempt on the part of my opponent to distract people from the fact that two different federal judges found him derelict in his duties,” Abrams said Sunday, according to CNN.

Abrams, Georgia’s former State House minority leader, repeatedly accused Kemp and his office of suppressing minority voters because of the “exact match” voter ID law that flags voter registrations with even slight discrepancies from other official identification documents, according to The Washington Post. (RELATED: Federal Judge Rules Against Republican Brian Kemp Days Before Close Georgia Governor Election)

Both Kemp and Abrams had high-profile figures join them on the campaign trail in recent days. Former President Barack Obama supported Abrams. She also touted support from celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Will Ferrell.

Vice President Mike Pence stumped for Kemp on Thursday, and President Donald Trump stumped for him Sunday.

Georgia gubernatorial candidates (L-R) Democrat Stacey Abrams, Republican Brian Kemp and Libertarian Ted Metz react as a fire alarm interrupts their debate at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Midtown October 23, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. John Bazemore-Pool/Getty Images

Georgia gubernatorial candidates (L-R) Democrat Stacey Abrams, Republican Brian Kemp and Libertarian Ted Metz react as a fire alarm interrupts their debate at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Midtown October 23, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. John Bazemore-Pool/Getty Images

Pence called out the Abrams campaign for relying on celebrity endorsements.

“I heard Oprah is in town today. I heard Will Ferrell was going door-to-door the other day,” Pence said at the Thursday rally in Dalton, Georgia, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’d like to remind Stacey and Oprah and Will Ferrell, I’m kind of a big deal, too.”

“And I got a message for all of Stacey Abrams’s liberal Hollywood friends: This ain’t Hollywood,” Pence continued. “This is Georgia. And Georgia wants a governor that’s going to put Georgia values and Georgia first. And Brian Kemp is going to do just that.”

The winner will replace current Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who had served since 2011 and is leaving office because of Georgia’s two-term limit.

Abrams could become the first black female governor in the U.S. if she wins and could be Georgia’s first Democratic governor since 2003. Georgia has a long history of Democratic governors including former president Jimmy Carter. Georgia’s last Democratic governor was Roy Barnes, who served from 1999 to 2003.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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