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Updated: Deal Appoints Lawyer as Secretary of State to Replace Kemp

Georgia State Capitol Building (Photo: John Disney/ALM)

Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed Robyn Crittenden to replace Brian Kemp as Georgia’s secretary of state. Crittenden, a lawyer, was commissioner of the state Department of Human Services.

She was sworn in as secretary of state Thursday afternoon and will serve the remainder of Kemp's term. "Robyn has been one of the most effective leaders within my administration and she is well-qualified to fill one of the most important jobs in state government," Deal said in a statement.

Kemp resigned Thursday morning, effective at 11:59 a.m. He has declared victory in the Georgia gubernatorial election, but his Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, has not conceded in the close race, demanding instead that every vote be counted and lining up lawyers.

Kemp’s announcement came during a hearing before Judge Billy Ray of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia over a suit brought by five voters late Tuesday afternoon asking for Kemp to be blocked from involvement in presiding over an election in which he is a participant.

Deal appointed Crittenden as DHS’s leader in July 2015, according to her DHS bio. Previously, she served as chief operating officer of the Georgia Student Finance Commission. She also has served as the general counsel for Morehouse College and for the Georgia Student Finance Commission and as assistant vice chancellor of legal affairs for contracts for the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents.

She co-chairs the Older Adults Cabinet with Georgia first lady Sandra Deal, aimed at improving the well-being of older Georgians.

Crittenden started her legal career at Atlanta firm Powell Goldstein, now part of Bryan Cave, after earning a law degree from the University of Michigan.

This story has been updated.