Abrams’ campaign seeking ballots to force a run-off
Volunteers spread ATLANTA — out Friday trying to find any ballots that could help Democrat Stacey Abrams close the gap against Republican Brian Kemp in their unsettled race for Georgia governor.
Unofficial returns show Kemp with slightly more than 50 percent of the vote, and he’s already resigned as secretary of state to start a transition with the blessing of the outgoing GOP governor, Nathan Deal. President Donald Trump weighed in with a tweet that said Kemp “ran a great race in Geor- gia — he won. It is time to move on!”
Yet Abrams, who hopes to become the nation’s first black female governor, sent out volunteers and campaign staff in search of votes she hopes could still tilt the mar- gin toward her.
Dozens of Abrams volunteers converged on a ware- house-turned-phone bank near downtown. The goal: Reach voters who used a provisional ballot to make sure they take steps to ensure their vote is counted by Friday evening.
Helen Brosnan of t he National Domestic Work- ers Alliance stood on a chair and shouted, “How many calls do you think we can make? Can we make hundreds of calls? Let’s do this!”
Abrams’ lawyers also are exploring options to ensure all votes are counted. Her campaign leaders say they believe she needs to pick up about 25,000 votes to put Kemp under 50 percent and force a runoff.
At least 2,000 p eo- ple across the nation are involved in the effort to find more votes, said state Sen. Nikema Williams, the Georgia director for Care In Action, which advocates for more than 2 million domestic workers and care workers nationwide.
Returns show Kemp with 50.3 percent of almost 4 million votes, a roughly 63,000vote lead over Abrams. That’s a narrow sum considering the near-presidential election year turnout, though sufficient for the majority required for outright victory.
With legal wrangles opening and Abrams showing no signs of conceding, the dispute is prolonging a bitter contest with historical significance and national political repercussions.
Abrams would become the first black woman elected governor of any U.S. state. Kemp seeks to maintain Republican dominance in a growing, diversifying Deep South state positioned to become a presidential battleground.
The key question is how many uncounted ballots actually remain.
Kemp said Thursday that it’s fewer than 21,000 — almost certainly not enough to force a runoff. Abrams’ campaign argues the total could be higher, and the secretary of state’s office has shared scant details as officials in Georgia’s 159 counties keep counting.
A runoff, if needed, would be Dec. 4. County authorities must certify final returns by Tuesday.