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Brian Kemp finally resigned as Georgia secretary of state, but he's not governor yet

The ballots are still being counted, and Stacey Abrams has refused to concede
Brian Kemp finally resigned as Georgia secretary of state, but he's not governor yet

The ballots are still being counted in the closely-watched Georgia governor’s race, but Republican Brian Kemp has claimed victory over Democrat Stacey Abrams, and on Thursday he resigned from his current job as secretary of state to take the job he doesn’t yet have. Currently, Tuesday’s election results are too close to call, although Kemp has already claimed victory. Abrams, who would be the country’s first black female governor, has refused to concede.


In a news conference announcing Kemp’s resignation, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal referred to Kemp as “governor-elect.” Election officials are still counting provisional and absentee ballots, although Kemp is slightly ahead with 50.3 percent of the vote. If his share of the vote drops below 50 percent, it will trigger a runoff election for Dec. 4.

As a candidate while he was also secretary of state overseeing elections, Kemp had a conflict of interest that sparked cries for him to resign. He has been accused of suppressing black voters from registering to vote or cast their ballots, and some of the key counties where Abrams had strong support experienced technical issues and long lines on Election Day. His resignation also guarantees that he won’t oversee any potential recount or runoff.

Kemp’s spokesman said Wednesday that the campaign was planning to move ahead with the transition process. Georgia voters filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday accusing Kemp of using his position as the state’s top election official to “disadvantage his opponents.” The Election Day malfunctions even affected Kemp himself: His voter card came up as “invalid.”

Meanwhile, Lucy McBath, a Democrat and gun control activist running to represent Georgia’s 6th District in Congress, defeated Republican Rep. Karen Handel Thursday. Handel conceded the election early Thursday morning. McBath won with 50.5 percent of the vote.

Cover image: Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp gives a thumbs-up to supporters, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)