After more than a week, and losing by an insurmountable number of votes, Democrat Stacey Abrams finally conceded the governor’s race to Republican Brian Kemp, the former Georgia secretary of state. Well, sort of. She announced that she had given up her campaign, but made clear that she was giving no "concession" speech because democracy had failed in Georgia.
In her first interview since losing to Kemp, Abrams was given a chance to change her tone a bit on the outcome of the election, but ended up doubling down on her rhetoric that her defeat was illegitimate and that Kemp had “benefited from his own perfidy.”
Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper if she would call Kemp the "legitimate" governor-elect, Abrams said instead that she would only call him the "legal governor of the state of Georgia," the "legal victor."
"But what you are looking for me to say is that there was no compromise of our democracy, and that there should be some political compromise in the language I use, and that’s not right," she said, Law & Crime's Alberto Luperon notes. "What’s not right is saying something was done properly, when it was not."
When pressed by Tapper if it was really fair to accuse Kemp of suppressing votes by expunging those who had not voted for several elections, as all states do, Abrams accused Kemp and others of a “deliberate and intentional” attempt to undermine legitimate voters. As evidence, she cited the single example a 92-year-old civil rights activist who allegedly learned election day that she’d been expunged.
"It’s not sufficient to simply purge voters from the roles for inactivity," she charged. "He removed voters who were eligible. He also denied access to 3,000 new citizens who should’ve been added to the roles, but he prevented them from being able to vote."
After calling the democratic process in Georgia corrupt and refusing to declare the winner legitimate, she then lamented the decline of "trust in our democracy."
"The larger issue is this: Trust in our democracy relies in believing that there are good actors who are making this happen, and he was a horrible actor who benefited from his perfidy," she said.
Kemp has slammed the claim that he oversaw the suppression of votes as a "farce."
"This farce about voter suppression and people being held up from being on the rolls … is absolutely not true," said Kemp in the candidates’ first debate in October.
"Earlier this month, a report from The Associated Press found that over 53,000 voter applications in Georgia ― nearly 70 percent of which were from black people ― were on hold for verification with Kemp’s office," the Huffington Post reported at the time.
But Kemp explained that anybody whose registration was "pending" simply had to show up with a valid ID to vote, which HuffPost admitted was true. These voters could show up and vote, but could not vote absentee or by mail until resolving the issue.
Video of Abrams' interview with Tapper below: