Georgia certifies election results after nearly two weeks of drama
Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp gives thumbs up as he takes on stage with his family during his election watch party at The Classic Center in Athens on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Georgia's top election official certified the state's vote count Saturday, confirming Republican Brian Kemp's victory in the race for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams.
Kemp led Abrams by 54,723 votes, a 1.4 percentage point margin of victory. Abrams narrowed the gap as additional absentee and provisional votes were counted since Election Day, but she was still 17,488 short of the votes she needed to force a runoff.
Georgia Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden certified the election the day after she was allowed to. A federal judge's order prevented her from certifying the election before 5 p.m. Friday to give county election officials time to review absentee and provisional ballots. That review resulted in an additional 93 absentee and 67 provisional ballots counted, along with 572 new ballots tabulated separately Thursday in Gwinnett County.
Abrams said Friday she was ending her run for governor, and there was no legal way for her to continue to contest the election. Abrams said she will file a "major federal lawsuit" over allegations of election mismanagement.
The race ended with Kemp at 1,978,408 votes, Abrams with 1,923,685 and Libertarian Ted Metz with 37,235.
The results also showed that Republican U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall won re-election against Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux by about 400 votes. Bourdeaux is requesting a recount.
Runoffs will be required Dec. 4 for race for secretary of state between Republican Brad Raffensperger will face Democrat John Barrow, and in the contest for Public Service Commission between Republican Chuck Eaton and Democrat Lindy Miller.
Mark Niesse covers voting rights and elections for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He also reports on the Georgia House of Representatives and government. He has been a reporter at the AJC since 2013 following a decade at The Associated Press in Atlanta, Honolulu and Montgomery, Ala.