Republican Brian Kemp claims he has won the election. For a runoff election, Democrat Stacey Abrams is buying television time.
The contenders in the contest for Georgia governor, one of the most closely watched elections in the country this year, are engaged in a bitter partisan battle over thousands of ballots that have not yet been counted.
As part of its preparations for “all possibilities,” Abrams’ campaign manager tweeted on Friday that her group had just approved a $250,000 TV purchase. Kemp is currently just above the majority required to avoid one, therefore the Abrams campaign is acting as if there would be a runoff or a recount.
Abrams has yet to concede since the election on Tuesday, while Kemp has done so and begun making plans for the successor departing Governor Nathan Deal. Even though Kemp appeared to be ahead in the results on election night, the Associated Press has not declared the race for Kemp. According to the Abrams team, it takes around 26,000 votes to force a runoff and about 24,000 ballots to force a recount.
Diametric split screens are the outcome. In one, Kemp is acting like the majority of previous successful gubernatorial candidates in the days following an election by appointing a chief of staff and putting together a transition team. On the other, Abrams is preparing for a runoff election that would take place on December 1 while exploring legal alternatives.
A federal judge ordered Dougherty County to count all absentee ballots received through November 9 that were postmarked on November 6 on Friday afternoon. In response to a lawsuit that the Abrams campaign brought, the decision was made.
The ruling probably won’t change the final vote tally by more than a few dozen, but it underlined the Abrams campaign’s claim that there are still ballots to be cast that might change the result.
Kemp’s campaign characterized the decision and Abrams’ defiance as a “desperate effort” to “steal the election.”
The statement continued, “As we have said since election night, Stacey Abrams cannot mathematically demand a run-off or a recount. “That reality is unaffected by this decision.”
The Democratic Party is supporting Abrams’ campaign as it battles to stay in the race. The Democratic Governors Association and the Democratic National Committee have maintained communication with the campaign, and Georgia-based officials from both groups are actively involved.
In a fundraising email supporting Abrams on Friday, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) stated that “the race is not done yet.”
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