Stacey Abrams claims she "did not challenge" the outcome of the 2018 Georgia governor's election she lost to Brian Kemp.
Fresh off announcing another bid for governor in 2022, Abrams was asked Thursday to address her refusal to concede in the face of the election fraud claims that beset the 2020 contest and has a wide swath of Republicans losing trust in the process.
Abrams told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow that she spent more than 10 years in the Georgia Legislature and worked hard to combat Kemp's "egregious and aggressive voter suppression activities" during his time as Georgia secretary of state before they faced off in 2018, and on the night of Nov. 16 she "acknowledged" she would not be governor and that Kemp had "won the election."
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That was 10 days after Election Day when she delivered what was billed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a "non-concession speech" in which she said, "I will not concede because the erosion of our democracy is not right," even as she acknowledged there was no "viable" path forward and that Kemp would be certified the winner. During remarks in the intervening years, she has claimed she won the election.
"I did not challenge the outcome of the election, unlike some recent folks did," the Democrat insisted to Maddow, continuing her commentary about the night of Nov. 16.
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"What I said was that the system was not fair. And leaders challenge systems. Leaders say we can do better. That is what I declared. I could not in good conscience say that, in order to protect my political future, I'm going to be silent about the political present, which is that we have a system under a leader that sought to keep people from casting their ballot, that threw the ballots out, that said that voter suppression was a viable tactic for winning elections."
Maddow did not challenge Abrams on her claims about not challenging the 2018 election outcome. She lost to Kemp by roughly 1.4 percentage points.
Abrams has long said minority votes that would have favored her were suppressed. If she wins in 2022, she would become the first black female governor elected in the United States.