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Midterms 2018

Democrat Stacey Abrams Won’t Call Republican Brian Kemp the ‘Legitimate’ Winner in Georgia

Failed gubernatorial candidate sees her suit as a 'call to arms'

Democrat Stacey Abrams, Georgia’s losing gubernatorial candidate in the 2018 midterms, overtly and repeatedly refused to call the victor —  Republican Gov.-Elect Brian Kemp — “legitimate” in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” on Sunday morning.

In her first national interview since ending the race, Abrams said she believed there was deliberate interference in the election.

“Yes, there was a deliberate and intentional disinvestment and I think destruction of the administration of elections in the state of Georgia,” she said.

“Democracy failed in Georgia,” Abrams also said on Friday, at a concession speech during which she expressly refused to use the word “concession” — saying that the word implied the actions taken to effect the outcome were “right, true, or proper.”

Abrams is planning a federal lawsuit against the state over its “gross mismanagement” of Georgia’s elections.

The left-wing candidate criticized the “vigor” with which Kemp, who was Georgia’s secretary of state during the midterm elections, purged inactive voters from the state’s rolls.

“It’s not sufficient to simply purge voters from the rolls for inactivity. He [Kemp] removed voters who were eligible,” Abrams charged, adding that Kemp also denied access to more than 3,000 new citizens.

“[Kemp] was a horrible actor who benefited from his perfidy,” declared Abrams.

To try to prove her point, she related a story of an elderly Georgia civil rights activist who had voted in every election since 1968 and whose name had been removed from the rolls this time around for unspecified reasons.

She said it took the woman’s daughter nearly two hours to get her mother access to a provisional ballot.

“If Stacey Abrams doesn’t win in Georgia, they stole it,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) declared of Georgia’s gubernatorial race during a speech last Wednesday to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.

“The law as it stands says that [Kemp] received an adequate number of votes to become the governor of Georgia … Sometimes the law does not do what it should,” said Abrams, giving a non-answer to Tapper’s question about whether Brown was correct and whether she believed Kemp to be the legitimate governor-elect of Georgia.

“Something being legal doesn’t make it right,” she added. “He has compromised our democratic systems.”

Tapper, trying yet a second time, asked Abrams directly whether Kemp was the legitimate governor-elect of Georgia.

And for a second time, Abrams refused to answer directly.

Tapper went for a third try — and for a third time was rebuffed.

“You’re not using the word legitimate. Is he the legitimate governor of Georgia?” Tapper pressed.

“Words have meaning … and I’m very careful with the words I use,” she said.

“He is the legal governor of Georgia,” Abrams replied.

“Words have meaning … and I’m very careful with the words I use,” she added.

“[Kemp] is the legal victor.”

“We have had systematic disenfranchisement of voters. We have seen gross mismanagement of our elections,” she said. “And we have seen an erosion of faith in democracy in our state,” she said.

“My accusations are based entirely on evidence,” said Abrams, describing the difference between her Fair Fight Georgia lawsuit and President Donald Trump’s tweeted allegations of voter fraud in nearby Florida’s midterm elections.

Related: Rick Scott Is Officially the Winner in Florida, Nelson Bows Out

“I’m simply using this moment to lift up a call to arms, but I’m going to do so in a court of law, not in the court of public opinion,” she said.

Abrams also said that though she will take the next year off as a private citizen, she will be running for office again in the future — though she did not say which office, where or when.

And check out this video:

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.