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Brian Kemp Resigns as Georgia Secretary of State, With Governor’s Race Still Disputed

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ATLANTA — Brian Kemp, the Republican who has claimed victory in Georgia’s governor’s race, mentioned on Thursday that he used to be resigning as secretary of state, taking away himself from the method of figuring out whether or not he had in truth been elected.

With some ballots nonetheless to be counted, his Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, is simply shy of sufficient votes to drive a runoff. Ms. Abrams has no longer conceded, and The Associated Press and different main information organizations say the race continues to be too as regards to name.

Mr. Kemp attracted mounting grievance throughout the marketing campaign for his control of an election wherein he used to be additionally a candidate, however he had pushed aside repeated calls from Democrats for him to renounce within the weeks earlier than Election Day.

Mr. Kemp made no point out of the elections procedure on Thursday in his resignation letter to the outgoing Republican governor, Nathan Deal, pronouncing he used to be resigning as a result of he wanted “to focus on the transition to my gubernatorial administration.”

Appearing with Mr. Deal at a morning information convention on the State Capitol in Atlanta, Mr. Kemp mentioned, “I think in light of where we are now, this will give public confidence to the certification process, even though, quite honestly, it’s being done at the county level.”

Robyn A. Crittenden, the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Services, will change into the performing secretary of state and oversee the certification of Georgia’s election effects. Ms. Crittenden is assuming the place of work at a risky second in Georgia, with Ms. Abrams’s marketing campaign nonetheless elevating pointed questions concerning the integrity of the election.

Ms. Crittenden may even supervise runoffs in no less than two different statewide races, one of them for secretary of state, as smartly as one for governor if Ms Abrams’s marketing campaign succeeds in forcing one.

As Mr. Kemp’s resignation took impact at 11:59 a.m. Thursday, his place of work mentioned he had gained 50.three p.c of the vote and held a lead of about 63,000 votes over Ms. Abrams. To win the governorship, Mr. Kemp will have to have an outright majority.

But Ms. Abrams’s marketing campaign believes there’s nonetheless a possible trail to a runoff, as soon as all closing absentee and provisional ballots are tabulated.

“Why is Brian Kemp rushing to declare himself the winner even as additional votes come in that could change the outcome?” an electronic mail circulated by way of Ms. Abrams’s marketing campaign requested on Thursday morning.

Mr. Kemp’s resignation as secretary of state looked as if it would render moot a federal lawsuit filed on Tuesday by way of the nonprofit crew Protect Democracy tough Mr. Kemp’s recusal. A listening to if so used to be scheduled for Thursday.

As Mr. Kemp and Mr. Deal spoke on the Capitol, protesters stood out of doors the governor’s place of work suite with indicators tough that each and every vote be counted correctly. A detachment of state soldiers stood guard.

Mr. Kemp’s twin roles as each participant and referee within the governor’s race has infuriated Democrats ever since he gained the Republican nomination. They often accused him of the usage of his place of work to additional a marketing campaign of voter suppression, thru purges of voter rolls and different disputed movements.

Jimmy Carter, who used to be governor of Georgia earlier than being elected to the White House, warned Mr. Kemp in a letter that his refusal to step down earlier than the election ran “counter to the most fundamental principle of democratic elections — that the electoral process be managed by an independent and impartial election authority.”

Over the weekend earlier than Election Day, Mr. Kemp took a step that drew the best grievance of all. In a vaguely worded announcement that presented no proof, Mr. Kemp’s place of work mentioned it had opened an investigation into the Democratic Party of Georgia after “a failed attempt to hack the state’s voter registration system.”

Democrats denied any wrongdoing and condemned the investigation — and particularly the general public announcement of it two days earlier than the election — as a last-minute political stunt. But Mr. Kemp as soon as once more rejected calls to step down at the moment.

On Thursday morning, status within the stately ceremonial place of work lengthy utilized by the state’s governors, he mentioned he would now spend his time getting ready to transport in.

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