Stacey Abrams Admits Kemp Won 2018 Election ‘Under the Rules That Were in Place’

Former Georgia House of Representatives Minority Leader Stacey Abrams speaks in Atlanta, Ga., November 2, 2020. (Brandon Bell/Reuters)

Democrat Stacey Abrams, who ran an unsuccessful bid for Georgia governor in 2018, refused to say whether she still believes that election was stolen during a pointed exchange with Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) on Tuesday.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled “Jim Crow 2021: The Latest Assault on the Right to Vote,” Cruz noted that Abrams had still refused to concede that she lost the race for governor two years ago.

He quoted her as having said she does “not concede that the process was proper” and that “they stole it from the voters of Georgia.”

“Yes or no, today, do you still maintain that the 2018 Georgia election was stolen?” Cruz asked.

“As I have always said, I acknowledged at the very beginning that Brian Kemp won under the rules that were in place,” Abrams responded. “What I object to are rules that permitted thousands of Georgia voters to be denied their participation in this election and had their votes cast out.”

She said she would “continue to disagree with the system until it is fixed” and argued that the “marked progress” that had been made since that election has been “undone” by the state’s new voting law, which was largely the subject of the committee’s hearing on Tuesday.

Cruz asked his question again, pressing Abrams for a yes or no response on whether she still believes the election was stolen, as she has said in the past.

My full language was that it was stolen from the voters of Georgia,” she said. “We do not know what they would have done because not every eligible Georgian was permitted to participate fully in the election.”

Cruz then noted that Abrams had told the New York Times that her loss was “fully attributable to voter suppression” and asked if she was aware of how the percentage of African American Georgians who are registered to vote and who turned out to vote compares with the national average.

“It is higher than the national average because Georgia is one of the largest states with an African American population,” she said.

“But that’s not tied to the size of the population,” Cruz said, before noting that the percentage of black Georgians who were registered to vote in 2018 was 64.7 percent, which sits just above the national average of 60.2 percent.

“The percentage of Georgians who voted in 2018 in the election you claim was stolen from you was 56.3 percent,” Cruz added. “That’s higher than the national average of 48 percent.”

The Texas Republican also noted that African Americans had the highest registration percentage and highest turnout percentage of any demographic group in Georgia.

Kemp, a Republican, defeated Abrams in 2018 by nearly 55,000 votes. In her concession speech, Abrams said the outcome was the result of voter suppression.

“I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election,” Abrams said at the time, according to NPR. “But to watch an elected official who claims to represent the people in this state baldly pin his hopes for election on suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote has been truly appalling.”

In the time since, she has been on a warpath against alleged voter suppression in the battleground state. Abrams and her two organizations, Fair Fight and the New Georgia Project, registered more than 800,000 new voters ahead of the 2020 election.

Many have credited her with helping President Biden narrowly win the state in November.

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