Stacey Abrams said her speech bowing out of the gubernatorial race was not one of concession. A concession speech would have indicated she agreed with how the election was carried out and its outcome, she said.
Instead, she announced that she was bowing out of the race knowing that the interim Secretary of State was poised to certify election results declaring Republican Brian Kemp the winner. Abrams said she realized there were no more legal options to stop that from happening.
“I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election, but to watch an elected official who claims to represent the people in this state baldly pin his hopes for election on the suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote has been truly appalling,” Abrams said.
“So, let’s be clear. This is not a speech of concession. Because concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper. As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede that. But my assessment is the law currently allows no further viable remedy.”
Abrams’ speech, her first public remarks since election night, came during a news conference called with less than two hours’ notice. In it, she recounted the challenges many voters faced with absentee ballots, as well as during early voting and on Election Day.
She thanked those who called the voter protection hotline to share their stories and for the volunteers who have joined the push to have every legal vote counted in the 10 days since the election.
“We have used this election and its aftermath to diagnose what has been broken in our process,” she said.
Putting her campaign to rest, Abrams said she would continue to speak out about how Kemp carried out the election and push for changes. She announced the creation of a new statewide organization called Fair Fight Georgia.
Abrams also said she will work to help Democrats in the Dec. 4 runoff, including Secretary of State candidate John Barrow and Lindy Miller, who is running for the Public Service Commission.
And she said she will pray for Kemp’s success.
Abrams ended her speech by casting a preemptive strike to those who may criticize her not striking a more conciliatory tone on her way out of the door.
“They can complain that I should not use this moment to recap what was done wrong or to demand a remedy,” she said. “You see as a leader, I should be stoic in my outrage and silent in my rebuke. But stoicism is a luxury, and silence is a weapon for those who would quiet the voices of the people. And I will not concede because the erosion of our democracy is not right.”