A climatic turn of events occurred on Wednesday when Stacey Abrams, Georgia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, refused to concede to her Republican opponent Brian Kemp, who also serves as Georgia’s Secretary of State.
At the time of report, Kemp lead with 50.8 percent of the vote, while Abrams followed with 48.3 percent. Georgia state laws calls for a runoff when either candidate cannot claim the majority vote.
Abrams’ campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, said the race would not be called until election officials counted thousands of provisional and absentee ballots.
Abrams addressed a crowd of supporters around 2 a.m. EST, who waited eagerly to hear from the candidate.
“Democracy only works when we work for it, when we fight for it, when we demand it, and apparently today when we stand in line for hours to meet it at the ballot box,” Abrams said. “I am here today to tell you there are votes remaining to be counted. Voices are waiting to be heard.”
Through a tight race, marred with gender politics, racial overtones and voter suppression, Abrams persevered. On Tuesday, several troubling stories at the polls furthered compounded the controversies surrounding the contentious race between Abrams and Kemp.
“I promise you tonight we’re going to make sure that every vote is counted. Every single vote! Every vote’s getting counted!” Abrams continued.
As Secretary of State, Kemp is charged with overseeing elections, a position which raised questions about fairness and abuse of power after Kemp refused to recuse himself from his current role during the midterm race.
In the weeks leading up to the election, Kemp and his campaign pulled out a full stop aimed at Abrams. The attacks began after the Associated Press reported Kemp’s office failed to process 53,000 voter registration applications, two-thirds of them belonging to voters of color.
Critics of Abrams, including Kemp also tried to question Abrams’ patriotism after an old story resurfaced, revealing Abrams participated in a flag burning protest in 1992 while she was a freshman at Spelman College. At the time, Georgia’s state flag contained the Confederate emblem.
Days later, a closed-door conversation revealed Kemp felt anxious about the voter turnout in favor of Abrams, and just this past weekend, Kemp launched a probe, accusing the Georgia Democratic Party of hacking voter registration records. However, he provided no evidence to support his claim. The Georgia Democratic Party has vehemently denied the accusation.
This week Kemp ventured into horrific terrain after supporters of his campaign elicited a racist robo call which featured a fake Oprah Winfrey, Aunt Jemima, and antisemitism.
But still, Abrams persisted.
Abrams represents every qualified Black woman who was looked over and discounted, but did not count herself out.