ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Secretary of State, and apparently the 83rd Governor Brian Kemp delivered a letter of resignation this morning. His resignation as Secretary of State comes a day after his campaign said he’s gotten the votes required to become Georgia’s next governor – although opponent Stacey Abrams has not yet accepted defeat in the heated race.
Attorney Russ Willard with the attorney general’s office of Georgia announced the resignation in federal court Thursday morning. It will be officially effective at 11:59 a.m.
The announcement came ahead of a scheduled hearing Thursday for a lawsuit in which five Georgia voters asked that Kemp be barred from exercising his duties as the state’s chief elections officer in any future management of his own election tally.
Abrams is not satisfied that all the ballots have been counted and is still hopeful that a December runoff is a possibility. According to Abrams campaign, it would take 15,000 votes for Abrams to get that wish, although Kemp claims it would take “more like 30,000 votes.”
The election has not been officially called.
“We are declaring victory,” Kemp aide Ryan Mahoney told reporters late Wednesday. Another campaign official, Austin Chambers, added: “The message here is pretty simple: This election is over, and the results are clear.”
Abrams’ campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo retorted a few hours later that the Kemp campaign offered “no proof” other than nonspecific provisional ballots counts released by Kemp’s official state office.
“He’s offered … no indication of why we should take him at his word,” Groh-Wargo said. “The sitting secretary of state has declared himself” the winner.
The runoff, if it happens, will be on December 4.
The campaign has garnered national attention, not only because Stacey Abrams, a Democrat, would be the fist black woman elected in U.S. history, but also because Kemp, being a Republican, would maintain the party’s domination in Georgia – where Dems haven’t aced a governor’s race since 1998. As importantly is the partisan rally to secure Georgia as a GOP stronghold in the 2020 presidential electoin.
Nearly four million have voted in the midterms for Georgia’s next governor, and Kemp has managed just over 50 percent of that.
With reported votes exceeding 3.9 million — almost 95 percent of Georgia’s 2016 presidential turnout — Kemp has just more than 50 percent.
The lawsuit at issue Thursday in an Atlanta federal court comes from voters who sued Kemp on Election Day alleging that Kemp presiding over an election in which he is a candidate “violates a basic notion of fairness.”
County officials have until next Tuesday to certify their results and send them to Kemp’s office. Statewide certification must come by Nov. 20.