POLITICS

Stacey Abrams Hasn't Conceded Georgia's Gubernatorial Race. Here's Why.

The rising Democratic star lost the controversial 2018 election by a very narrow margin amid allegations of voter suppression.

NEW YORK ― Democrat Stacey Abrams has acknowledged Republican Brian Kemp as the legal victor in last year’s Georgia governor’s race. 

But speaking Wednesday at a National Action Network convention in New York City, Abrams made clear why she has yet to officially concede. 

“Concession needs to say something is right and true and proper,” Abrams told the crowd. “I’m a good lawyer. And I understand that the law of the land said that Brian Kemp became governor that day. And I acknowledge that.”

She added: “But you can’t trick me into saying it was right. You can’t shame me into pretending that what happened should have happened.”

“I’m not saying they stole it from me,” Abrams added of Georgia Republicans’ role in the race. “They stole it from the voters of Georgia.”

Kemp oversaw the state’s elections as secretary of state during the campaign, and the Abrams campaign and voting rights activists alike have continuously contested that he sought to suppress minority votes in doing so. 

Among other accusations, Kemp came under fire in September when The Associated Press revealed that 53,000 voter applications, mostly from black residents, were being held up by the secretary of state’s office. 

I’m not saying they stole it from me. They stole it from the voters of Georgia. Stacey Abrams

Which is why, four months after the election, Abrams still has no plans to declare Kemp the legitimate winner.

“If you’re fighting against the system and it’s designed to oppress you, sometimes you have to fight a little bit longer than you think,” she said. 

Her Wednesday comments about concession mirrored a Nov. 16 speech in which she announced the end of her run, calling Kemp an “architect of voter suppression.” On Wednesday, Abrams described him as a “cartoon villain”  while decrying the four-hour lines some people had to wait in at polling sites and the issue of voter suppression throughout the country. 

“My signature doesn’t match from Kroger to CVS, but my citizenship doesn’t change,” she said at one point to loud applause. 

Abrams also used her time at the event to outline how she went about winning the Democratic primary in Georgia in detail ― a blueprint for future activists and politicians. 

“We went to communities that had never seen a candidate, and we didn’t just stop by ― we stopped in and we sat down and we had conversation,” she said. “I went to all of Georgia. I didn’t just go to the places that looked like me or the places that say they like me. I went to places where they didn’t like me.” 

At one point, the Georgia Democrat also defended “identity politics,” which have faced criticism since Democrat Hillary Clinton’s electoral defeat in 2016. 

“The reality is ‘identity politics’ is nothing more than saying, ‘I see you. I hear you. I understand the obstacles that face you,’” Abrams said. “I believe in identity politics, and I believe identity politics are the only politics that win.” 

Abrams attended the National Action Network event Wednesday alongside 2020 Democratic presidential contenders Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Yang and Julián Castro

Abrams herself continues to weigh her next steps following the narrow loss in November. She has said she plans to announce her decision this month and that all options remain on the table, including a senatorial bid and a run for president.

At the end of her speech, Abrams hinted at the speculation surrounding her next move. Speaking of her deceased grandmother, Abrams noted she had lived to see her granddaughter nominated to become governor but not long enough to see her take an oath of office. 

If she had been elected, Abrams would have become the nation’s first black female governor. 

“Now,” Abrams added, “I don’t know which oath is coming up next ...” 

The line led to a laugh, and then a chant.

“Run, Stacey! Run!” the crowd shouted in unison. “Run, Stacey! Run!” 

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