11/8/2018 WTKS - It's being reported that Georgia's GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp will resign as Secretary of State today.
Kemp is running for the state governor's office against Democrat Stacey Abrams and has faced accusations of using his job as the state's top election official to influence his gubernatorial bid.
While Kemp has declared victory, Abrams has not conceded and many news outlets still consider the contest too close to call.
A statement from the Georgia Secretary of State's office said Kemp submitted his resignation to be effective at 11:59 a.m. today, 11/8. Kemp served as the Georgia's top election official as he ran to become its governor, and stepping down would mean he would not certify the final vote count.
Governor Nathan Deal and Brian Kemp are holding a news conference at the State Capitol at 12pm to discuss the administration transition process.
News of Kemp's impending resignation first came to our attention via this tweet:
Here's the full press release from the group Protect Democracy:
BREAKING: Georgia Voters’ Lawsuit Forces Brian Kemp to Resign Secretary of State Role
November 8, 2018
ATLANTA – Moments ago, Georgia gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp resigned his office as Secretary of State in response to a lawsuit brought by Georgia voters. The move came moments after a hearing was about to commence in Federal Court in Atlanta on a lawsuit seeking to force Kemp’s removal from any role in overseeing a governor’s race that is still too close to call and has not yet been decided. Kemp claimed the move was to allow him to begin working on a transition to the governor’s role, but the timing made clear that his move was prompted by the lawsuit.
Larry Schwartztol, Counsel for Protect Democracy, the nonpartisan nonprofit that brought the suit on behalf of five Georgia voters said:
“This is a huge victory for democracy and the rule of law. It is a basic constitutional principle that a person may not be a judge in their own case and that’s what Brian Kemp was attempting to be here. It was manifestly unfair and it is a credit to the voters who stepped forward: LaTosha Brown, Candace Fowler, Jennifer Ide, Chalis Montgomery and Katharine Wilkinson whose bold stand in defense of democracy forced Secretary Kemp’s hand.
It is now critical that the votes be counted fairly and any other irregularities caused by Secretary Kemp’s conflicted role and multiple egregiously unethical and unlawful acts in the management of this election be addressed to the degree that Georgia voters can have full confidence in the result.
And let this be a lesson for the future: government officials may not misuse their offices to unfairly tilt the playing field in elections in which they are a candidate. Doing so violates the Constitution, and today proves that Americans and our court system stand at the ready to stop that from happening should it ever be attempted again.”
The emergency legal papers in this case, Brown v. Kemp, were filed at 5 PM Tuesday on behalf of five Georgia voters: LaTosha Brown, Jennifer N. Ide and Katharine Wilkinson of Fulton County, Candace Fowler of Dekalb County, and Chalis Montgomery of Barrow County. They are represented in the matter by the nonpartisan nonprofit Protect Democracy, former United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia Michael J. Moore, Chuck Byrd, Caroline McGlamry and Wade Tomlinson of Pope McGlamry, and former Department of Justice Voting Rights Section attorney Bryan L. Sells of the Atlanta Law Office of Bryan L. Sells.
More information about the lawsuit is available at protectdemocracy.org/brown-v-kemp/
Protect Democracy is a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to preventing American democracy from declining into a more authoritarian form of government.
Michael J. Moore, Chuck Byrd, Caroline McGlamry and Wade Tomlinson are attorneys at the law firm of Pope McGlamry, which has offices in Atlanta and Columbus, Georgia. Mr. Moore previously served as the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia from 2010 to 2015. He is also a former member of the Georgia Senate, where he served on the Appropriations, Judiciary, Transportation, and Defense Committees.
Bryan L. Sells is the Principal at The Law Office of Bryan J. Sells in Atlanta, Georgia. Before launching his own practice, Bryan served as Special Litigation Counsel in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice from 2010 to 2015.
These are the election results as of 10:55 this morning, courtesy of WSB-TV Atlanta:
Brian Kemp(R) 1,973,105 - 50%
Stacey Abrams(D) 1,910,393 - 49%
Ted Metz(L) 37,088 - 1%
100% Reporting 2,634 of 2,634 Precincts