Lauren Groh-Wargo, Stacey Abrams' campaign manager, stands with attorneys at a Thursday press conference, discussing the Abrams campaign's pending legal actions. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM
Photo: Bob Andres/
Photo: Bob Andres/

The Jolt: That time when a GOP legal team wanted every vote counted

The candidate’s lawyer insisted that the margin was so close that great care was needed to make sure that every single vote was counted:

“We’re not waiting until after the certification to begin looking at options, by any means,” he said. “Right now, we’re doing a lot of triage, looking at absentee ballots and the provisional ballots that haven’t been counted yet.”

“We are assessing any and all irregularities that arose on Election Day,” he added. “Were there ineligible voters casting ballots? Or voters who should have had an opportunity to vote denied that opportunity?”

Nearly three weeks passed before Mary Norwood conceded defeat to Keisha Lance Bottoms in last year’s Atlanta mayoral runoff – even while maintaining that irregularities had marred the election.

The lawyer quoted by the Daily Report was Vincent Russo, who had served as general counsel for two Republican secretaries of state: Karen Handel and Brian Kemp.

Also on the Norwood legal team was David Dove, another former legal counsel for Kemp -- who also had served as the secretary of state’s chief of staff.

It’s something to keep in mind as Democrat Stacey Abrams refuses to concede, scouring the state for enough votes to throw the race for governor into a four-week runoff.

Kemp pronounced himself governor-elect on Thursday, naming Dove to head up his transition team.


And isn’t it interesting that, as Georgia Democrats prepare for litigation that would target the secretary of state’s performance during the 2018 election, Gov. Nathan Deal would appoint an African-American woman to replace Brian Kemp, who resigned as secretary of state on Thursday?

Longtime ally Robyn Crittenden, the commissioner of the state Department of Human Services, is the first black woman to serve as a statewide constitutional officer in Georgia history – although the position is temporary. Republican Brad Raffensperger and Democrat John Barrow are in a Dec. 4 runoff for the position.


Once Karen Handel had conceded the Sixth District race on Thursday, it took for GOP message-makers in Washington fewer than eight hours to turn up the heat on congresswoman-elect Lucy McBath. Among the first votes McBath will need to take after arriving in Congress this January is for House speaker, and the Republican National Committee was quick to point out that the Democrat has not made her feelings about Nancy Pelosi public. 

"Will she really risk turning on Pelosi? The 6th District will be watching her decision closely and holding her accountable,” RNC spokesperson Ellie Hockenbury said Thursday via email.

Throughout the Sixth District contest, McBath said it was too early to speculate on whom she would support for House speaker. But she was not among the dozens of Democrats who went out of their way to disavow the Californian on the campaign trail.

One thing worth noting: the Pelosi-controlled Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee helped McBath build her campaign and fundraising infrastructure.


One metro Atlanta Democrat who will back Pelosi this January is John Lewis. The longtime congressman said in an interview Thursday that he will back his “good friend.”

“I think Nancy Pelosi is one of the most active, dedicated and committed members in the House of Representatives. She works harder than anyone else and she gets out and raises money and …. she will have my support,” he said.


Back on the topic of McBath: The gun control advocate devoted her first statement as congresswoman-elect not to Karen Handel’s concession, but Wednesday’s mass shooting in southern California.

“It is unfortunately not surprising that on the very same day I officially became a congresswoman-elect, other families in this country are receiving the same exact call that I did six years ago when I learned my son had been murdered,” she began.

The former Everytown for Gun Safety surrogate has promised to make gun control her “top priority” upon arriving in Washington.


According to, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Thursday that he and President Donald Trump are solid – and that he had no plans to be part of any post-election Cabinet shake-up.


The same news site reported that U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, was one of two Southerners who, on a conference call of House Republicans, insisted that a lame-duck session take up an emergency spending bill to help repair last month’s damage by Hurricane Michael

The state Legislature convenes on Tuesday to take up $270 million in emergency spending for the same purpose.


One of the stranger election night reports we saw this week was tapped out by Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan, who examined the clothing choices of candidates in Georgia’s race for governor and the U.S. Senate contest in Texas. She noted Democrat Stacey Abrams’ powder blue dress, but took aim at Republican Brian Kemp, who appeared on a stage with his wife and three daughters, in front of a red screen:

[Kemp] opened his remarks with a “whooo!” and a quip: “Sorry it took us a little while to get here. It took the girls a little while to get ready tonight.”

Givhan would have none of that:

[Y]es, “the girls” might have spent an inordinate amount of time getting dressed considering they would be standing on a stage before a national audience in the role of a backdrop. So, yes, Brian Kemp, it takes a helluva lot of time to blow out your hair, put on makeup, a dress and accessories. What did you have to do to complete your part in this patriotic tableau? Drape a piece of silk around your neck and tie it into a knot.


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