Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said Thursday on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” that, unlike former President Donald Trump, she did not challenge the results of the 2018 election, which she lost to Republican Brian Kemp and refused to concede amid allegations of voter suppression.
Maddow said, “When you ran in 2018, part of the reason we covered the race so intently is because the candidates are both very interesting people, present company included. But also because there was a disturbing dynamic in that race which was that your Republican opponent who went on to win the race was secretary of state at the time and was engaged in really aggressive what appeared to be voter suppression tactics, including throwing huge numbers of Georgians off the voting rolls in a way that seemed to benefit his own candidacy in which he was on the ballot. When you so narrowly lost, you famously were contentious about the loss, saying he didn’t necessarily think it had been a fair fight. Stepping back now a few years out of that, and seeing what’s happened both in Georgia and around the country around the issues of fairness in elections, how do you feel about that now looking back at it and how do you want people to understand how that dynamic affected the race the first time?”
Abrams said, “In 2018, I had spent more than a year traveling the state, but I had already spent ten years, 11 years in the state legislature. I had been working on voting rights since I was 17. I had watched. In fact, I had battled with the then secretary of state over his egregious and aggressive voter suppression activities. On the night on November 16, when I acknowledged I would not become governor, that he had won the election, I did not challenge the outcome of the election unlike some recent folks did.”
She continued, “What I said was that the system was not fair. Leaders challenge systems. Leaders say we can do better. That is what I declared. I could not in good conscience say in order to protect my political future I’ll be silent about the political present, which is that we have a system under a leader that sought to keep people from casting their ballot that threw the ballots out that said that voter suppression was a viable tactic for winning elections. I am so proud of the work that I have been able to do in the last three years. But even more, I’m proud of the work Georgians have done to demonstrate their capacity to have their voices heard to participate in elections to change their stars, to change their futures. I could not be prouder that I was part of that by saying on November 16, 2018 that my time would be committed to protecting our system, defending our democracy, and ensuring access to the right to vote.”
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN