Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for Georgia governor, declined to concede Wednesday, hoping absentee and mail-in ballots could trigger a runoff against Republican Brian Kemp
Her opponent, who is also Georgia’s secretary of state overseeing the election, has yet to claim outright victory, but noted his campaign’s “very strong lead” early Wednesday.
“Make no mistake: The math is on our side to win this election,” Kemp added.
The Republican currently has 50.5 percent of the vote. However, Abrams’ campaign claims there are tens of thousands of absentee and mail-in ballots uncounted — many of them in Democratic-leaning districts.
As of 5.30 a.m. ET, Abrams would needs to make up just over 24,000 votes to trigger a runoff.
“Votes remain to be counted. Voices waiting to be heard,” she told reporters at 4 a.m. Wednesday morning, adding: “We are going to make sure that every vote is counted — because, in a civilized nation, the machinery of democracy should work everywhere for everyone. Not just in certain places and not just on a certain day.”
Abrams campaign predicted a runoff would be needed on Dec. 4. The winning candidate needs to secure a 50 percent majority in order to avoid a second vote.
Abrams’ campaign claimed that 77,000 mail-in ballots remain uncounted in seven counties, along with an estimated 20,000 absentee ballots from Gwinnett County, which experienced a number of technical problems Tuesday, including voting machines not working.
The Georgia race gained national attention as a bellwether of Trump and his policies personified in Kemp, against a progressive and diverse Democratic coalition led by Abrams.
Kemp’s position as a candidate as well as the official overseeing the election came under scrutiny, with Abrams labeling him “an architect of suppression” over claims he worked to limit minority votes. Kemp has steadfastly refused to step aside, defending his job performance.
The closely-watched race became even more important for the Democrats Wednesday after the party’s other rising stars — Beto O’Rourke and Andrew Gillum — lost their respective races.
Abrams, who is aiming to become the nation’s first black female governor, fought against two decades of Republican rule in the state by tapping into support from progressives and left-leaning minorities who typically skip midterm elections.
She also enjoyed the backing of former president Barack Obama, TV icon Oprah Winfrey and a raft of potential 2020 Democratic presidential contenders.
On the Republican side, Kemp has courted Trump’s base, with promises to expand gun rights, cut taxes and defend the president. Trump held a raucous rally in Macon Sunday to bolster Kemp’s chances.
Cover image: Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams addresses supporters at an election watch party on November 6, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. Abrams and her opponent, Republican Brian Kemp, are in a tight race that is too close to call. A runoff for Georgia's governor is likely. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)