Stacey Abrams gave up her quest to become Georgia’s next governor on Friday, acknowledging that her Republican opponent, former Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, had won the race. But in a speech surrounded by supporters, she pointedly refused to define her decision as a “concession,” all but accusing Kemp of having stolen the election and announcing that she plans to file a federal lawsuit challenging the “gross mismanagement” of the race.
The Georgia race has been plagued by controversy for months, as Kemp, who continued to serve as secretary of state until after the election, threw the full weight of voter intimidation at Abrams and potential voters. In her speech, Abrams—who would have been the first black female governor in American history if she had won—made it clear that she would not take Kemp’s actions lying down.
“Make no mistake,” she said. “The former secretary of state was deliberate and intentional in his actions.”
Kemp reportedly purged hundreds of thousands of voters from the rolls; his office was discovered last month to have put over 50,000 voter registrations on hold; he was caught on tape lamenting high voter turnout; and in recent days, he baselessly accused both the Georgia Democratic Party of hacking and Abrams of attempting to “steal” the election. The impact of those last-ditch efforts will surely be the focus of Abrams’ planned lawsuit. Endorsed by President Donald Trump during his primary, Kemp also ran virulently anti-immigrant and pro-gun ads during the campaign.
As a candidate, Abrams ran on expanding Medicaid to nearly a half a million Georgians. The race drew significant national attention in the final month, with Oprah Winfrey campaigning for Abrams. Trump preposterously called Abrams “unqualified,” and Abrams and Winfrey were also the targets of a vehemently racist robocall.
Kemp continues a Georgia GOP gubernatorial winning streak that began back in 2002.
Watch Abrams’ full speech below.