Before the first vote was even cast in the election for Georgia's governor, it was clear that voter suppression was going to be an issue. The Republican candidate, Brian Kemp, had the luxury of overseeing his own election, a conflict of interest so huge it would inspire shame in a normal person. And it's poised to pay off. Long wait lines drove away an unknown number of voters in huge, non-Republican-leaning districts. As of Wednesday morning, with more votes still left to count, Kemp narrowly led opponent Stacey Abrams.
But Abrams hasn't conceded. Under Georgia law, the election moves to a runoff if no candidate manages to secure 50 percent of the vote. Kemp is slightly over that threshold now, but Abrams is holding out hope that absentee and provisional ballots will drop him below it. In a speech she made to her supporters late Tuesday night, Abrams was inspiring and defiant.
Georgia, you put your faith in me, but I want you to know tonight, the feeling is mutual. And I want you to look around—tonight should be all the proof you need—when we put our faith in the great people of this state, there is nothing we can't accomplish together. This fundamental truth is why we fight on, because Georgia still has a decision to make. A decision between division and trickery, or a leadership that defends your rights, your kids, your career, your community, your right to vote in America. That's what's on the ballot.
Kemp also told his supporters that not all the votes are in yet but that he's optimistic about his chances. And why wouldn't he be? He's been throwing every smear and conspiracy he can at Abrams for the entire campaign, along with trying to freeze the registrations of tens of thousands of black voters (Kemp currently leads Abrams by fewer than 80,000 votes).
Again, it's jaw-dropping that Kemp is free to so blatantly meddle in his own election. But Abrams has been defiant throughout the campaign, and she appears still ready to fight now.