Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate for governor in Georgia, has resigned as Georgia’s secretary of state effective Thursday at 11:59 a.m.
Why is this important?
Kemp was on the verge of facing a lawsuit Thursday. This lawsuit was brought forth by Georgia voters because he was overseeing his own race against Democrat governor candidate Stacy Abrams. Votes are still being counted for this race.
This race has been marred by allegations of voter suppression along with conflicts of interest. On Tuesday Abrams pledged to not conceded until “every vote gets counted.”
In a statement, the Georgia secretary of state’s office said Kemp submitted his resignation effective at 11:59 a.m. Thursday. The Republican served as the state’s top election official as he ran to become its governor, and stepping down would mean he would not certify the final vote count — despite his ability to influence the election previously.
He declared victory Wednesday in his contest with Abrams, which was marked by concerns about Kemp using his current office to suppress votes. Abrams, the former state House minority leader who aims to become the first black woman to serve as a U.S. governor, has not conceded yet.
As of Thursday morning, the Republican had won 50.3 percent of the votes that were counted, per NBC News tallies. The percentage if very important, because if it drops under 50 it will go to a runoff.
The Georgia Democratic Party ripped Kemp for calling himself the winner.
.@BrianKempGA's self-coronation, using taxpayer resources, is a legally meaningless political stunt. Zero out of 159 counties have certified votes. Zero votes are officially reported until next week, and tens of thousands of votes have not been counted. #CantTrustKemp #gapol
— Georgia Democrat (@GeorgiaDemocrat) November 8, 2018
The lawsuit filed by Georgia voters accused Kemp of using “the official powers of his office to interfere in the election to benefit himself and his political party and disadvantage his opponents.”
Democrats and voting rights groups have called for Kemp to step down. Former President Jimmy Carter, who was once the governor of Georgia and is a current Georgia resident, called for Kemp to resign.