‘We’re moving on.’ Kemp vows to unite divided Georgia

Gov.-elect Brian Kemp. Hyosub Shin/AJC

Gov.-elect Brian Kemp. Hyosub Shin/AJC

A day after his opponent ended her campaign, Gov.-elect Brian Kemp vowed to unite a divided Georgia electorate and push ahead with his plans to cut taxes, slash regulations and boost struggling rural parts of the state.

The Republican held a Saturday press conference at the Capitol to congratulate Democrat Stacey Abrams on a hard-fought campaign and promise that he'd make Georgians proud when he takes office in January.

“The election is over with. Politics is a tough business, but campaigns and elections are about the future,” he said. “We’re moving on, and we’re focused on the future.”

In a defiant speech late Friday, Abrams said "democracy failed" Georgia and outlined plans to file litigation challenging "gross mismanagement" of state electoral policies. But she acknowledged she would lose the tight race when it's certified on Saturday.

The latest election tally showed Kemp won the contest by roughly 55,000 votes but was within about 17,000 votes of being forced into a runoff.

After 10 days of fraught post-election drama, Kemp abandoned the biting barbs he used to describe Abrams as recently as Friday morning, trading attacks of her "radical" agenda for compliments about her campaign.

He echoed President Donald Trump, who also praised Abrams' "terrific political future."

“The election is over with. It’s been a long, tough process and I certainly appreciate Stacey Abrams’ tenacity and how hard she worked,” he said.

“But I’m proud of what we’ve done, too. Now we are going to move forward. I’m ready to get to work cutting taxes, focusing on rural healthcare, making Georgia No. 1 for small business and strengthening rural Georgia.”