12 Times Stacey Abrams Said She Got Cheated in Georgia

Stacey Abrams / Getty Images

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Democrat Stacey Abrams has repeatedly said she didn't really lose the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, although Republican Brian Kemp is the governor and she is not.

Abrams, along with prominent Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio), and Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) have claimed voter suppression tactics resulted in the race being stolen from her.

Here are a list of times Abrams, a rising star in the Democratic Party who gave its official State of the Union response to President Donald Trump, has refused to accept defeat by saying the race was tainted or even that she outright really won it.

November 16, 2018

Abrams gave a fiery speech 10 days after the election once it was clear she couldn't make up the ground needed to force a runoff, saying she would not concede a race she called an "erosion of our democracy."

"I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election," she said. "But to watch an elected official—who claims to represent the people of this state—baldly pin his hopes for election on the suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote has been truly appalling. So, to be clear, this is not a speech of concession."

"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," she added.

She ultimately lost by about 55,000 votes and finished 17,000 votes short of forcing a runoff. In Georgia, a candidate needs 50 percent of the vote for an outright victory. It marked the fifth consecutive time a Republican won the Georgia governorship, although Abrams got more Democratic votes than any candidate in state history.

November 18, 2018

Abrams told CNN anchor Jake Tapper that Kemp's victory was "tainted" and repeatedly refused to recognize him as the legitimate governor-elect.

"He is the legal governor of Georgia and here's the thing, Jake. I want to be very clear. Words have meaning and I've spent my lifetime not only as an attorney. But as a writer, I'm careful of the words I choose," Abrams said. "When he takes the oath of office, he will be the legal governor of the state of Georgia, the legal victor, but what you are looking to me to say is that there was no compromise of our democracy and that there should be some political compromise in the language I use, and that's not right. What's not right is saying that something was done properly when it was not."

"I will never deny the legal premature that says he is in this position, and I pray for his success. But will I say that this election was not tainted, was not a disinvestment and disenfranchisement of thousands of voters? I will not say that," Abrams added.

November 19, 2018

Abrams told MSNBC host Chris Hayes it was "not a free and fair election" in Georgia.

"It was not a free and fair election," Abrams said. "We had thousands of Georgians who were purged from the rolls wrongly, including a 92-year-old woman who had voted in the same area since 1968, a civil rights leader. It was not fair to the thousands who were forced to wait in long lines because they were in polling places that were under-resourced, or worse, they had no polling places to go to because more than 300 had been closed. It was not fair to the thousands that were put on hold with their registrations. And it was not fair to those who filled out absentee ballots and, depending on the county you sent it to, it either was counted or not counted, assuming you received it in time."

"Brian Kemp oversaw for eight years the systematic and systemic dismantling of our democracy, and that means there could not be free and fair elections in Georgia this year," Abrams added.

December 11, 2018

Abrams discussed her future plans at the Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen conference. She said she felt extra despondency over not fulfilling her goal because it happened under a "cloud."

"We don't know what really happened because of the miasma of voter suppression," she said. "There's something about uncertainty that's worse than knowing you just suck. Knowing that you did this thing wrong … there's clarity there, and absence clarity, your mind starts to whirl, and it doesn't stop."

"Words matter … For me, concession, there’s a legal and moral nature to conceding," Abrams said later. "It means you accept that something is right, that it is just, that it is proper. What happened was not just. And it's not about whether I get to be inaugurated as governor."

January 21, 2019

Speaking to a crowd in Albany, Georgia, Abrams compared Kemp to a player refereeing his own football game. Kemp's role as secretary of state came under national scrutiny during the race, and Abrams repeatedly accused him of systematic voter suppression, although such charges weren't borne out by the facts on the ground.

"If you saw yesterday’s playoff game between the Rams and the Saints, there was a call that should have been made and folks are righteously indignant," she said. "There was a call that should have been made a long time ago in Georgia—you don’t get to be the referee and the player."

January 24, 2019

Abrams spoke at a health action conference hosted by Families USA and said she "didn't lose," although it was in the context of the gains made by progressives in Georgia. She later discussed voter suppression in the speech, however.

"We didn't lose. We just didn't get the governor's mansion," Abrams said.

March 5, 2019

In an interview with the New York Times, Abrams called her defeat "fully attributable to voter suppression."

"A candidate could always be better, but I don’t believe there’s a flaw in our process that someone can point to and say this is why this happened," she said. "The results were purely and fully attributable to voter suppression."

March 11, 2019

Abrams told students at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, that she was a "really good loser" due to her political celebrity following the defeat.

Yet she also reiterated she didn't concede.

"I don’t concede that I lost," she said. "I acknowledge that I’m not the governor of Georgia. That’s made plain every day I don’t walk into the Governor’s Mansion."

March 14, 2019

Abrams said at an event she "did win my election" and also boasted about telling a tracker she would never concede to Kemp. However, the tracker video appeared to show her not responding to his question.

"I did win my election," she said, according to ABC News reporter Adam Kelsey. "I just didn't get to have the job."

March 27, 2019

On The View, liberal co-host Sunny Hostin spun that Abrams didn't become governor because "you ended up not getting the number of votes you needed, by just 54,000 votes."

"I can't say that empirically I won but I will never know because we did not have a fair fight," Abrams said, shaking her head vigorously when Hostin asked if she lost "fair and square."

April 3, 2019

Abrams told an enthusiastic audience at Al Sharpton's National Action Network "we won" in Georgia.

"We had this little election back in 2018," she said. "And despite the final tally and the inauguration and the situation we find ourselves in, I do have one very affirmative statement to make. We won."

"I’m not saying they stole it from me, but they stole it from the voters of Georgia," she said later.

April 3, 2019

The Late Show host Stephen Colbert asked Abrams if she still felt cheated during an appearance to promote her new book.

"Five months later, do you still feel like your opponent won through voter suppression?" Colbert asked.

"Yes," Abrams said, as the audience cheered. "That's not a good thing, but yes."

The crowd booed when Abrams again framed Kemp as the referee, player and scorekeeper in his own contest.

Liberal news outlets have frequently referred to the race as "marred" by voter suppression tactics or irregularities without delving into the facts. Kemp's office was blamed for closing local voting precincts outside of his office's purview, as well as for "purging" voters from the rolls while enforcing "use it or lose it" law passed and signed by the state's Democratic legislature and governor in the 1990s.

The Free Beacon also reported Abrams's claim that 53,000 voters were put "on hold" by Kemp's office during the campaign to prevent them from voting was deceptive:

Georgia—like Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin, among others—has an "exact match" law requiring personal information collected on voter registration applications to match data on file with the local department of motor vehicles and the federal Social Security Administration.

The 53,000 individuals in questions were not purged from the rolls. Rather their voter registration status was placed as "pending" meaning more information was required to verify their identity.

In most cases, "pending" status can easily be resolved by an individual either online or by contacting their local board of elections. As noted by both Kemp and the Georgia Republican Party, those with a "pending status" on Election Day are still allowed to vote either by regular ballot, upon providing proof of identification, or by provisional ballot, if identity was unverifiable.

The Wall Street Journal observed that Abrams, herself, may hold some responsibility for the significant number of voters labeled with a "pending" status prior to the election.

"The [exact match] law was intended to prevent groups from sloppily filling out applications for individuals, as Ms. Abrams’s New Georgia Project appears to have done," the paper’s editorial board wrote.

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