Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate in Georgia’s gubernatorial election, has an adversarial relationship with arithmetic. This antipathy to math has long bedeviled her with regard to unpaid taxes as well as delinquent student loans, and it is now preventing her from seeing that it is mathematically impossible for her to become the Peach State’s next governor. In a Georgia gubernatorial contest, a candidate must receive at least 50 percent of the vote — plus 1 — in the general election to win outright. If no one manages to reach that crucial percentage, the two candidates with the most votes must battle it out again in a runoff.
The only candidate to cross that threshold is Abram’s GOP opponent, Brian Kemp, who has garnered 1,973,875 votes or 50.3 percent of the 3,921,676 votes counted by 10 p.m. last night. The Abrams total is 1,910,708, giving her a percentage of 48.7 and Libertarian Ted Metz got 37,093 votes putting him at 0.9 percent. Even if Abrams won all of the 21,358 uncounted votes, it would only bring her total to 1,932,066, or 49.0 percent of the new total. Kemp would still have 50.1 percent. This would not merely leave Kemp above 50 percent, the difference wouldn’t meet the “1 percent or less” margin required for a recount under Georgia law.
Thus, Kemp has resigned as Georgia’s secretary of state, started his transition to his new position, and Robyn Crittenden — who was the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Services until yesterday — has been appointed interim secretary of state. None of this is likely to stop the inevitable lawsuits that Abrams and the Democratic Party will file in order to change the outcome of the election. A group run by a former White House Counsel for the Obama administration filed a suit before lunch on Election Day alleging that Kemp “has used the official powers of his office to interfere in the election to benefit himself.”
The latest lawsuit was filed yesterday based on the ridiculous claim that Hurricane Michael delayed all manner of government functions, including the mailing of absentee ballots. Not coincidentally, the suit was filed against Democratic stronghold Dougherty County and demands changes in the rules by which absentee ballots are managed. Ordinarily, absentee ballots received after Election Day are not considered valid. The lawsuit, which lists the Democratic Party of Georgia as the plaintiff, would force the county to count ballots received through yesterday. And this isn’t going to stop with Dougherty County. The Hill reports:
Kurt Kastorf, who is on Abrams’s legal team… pointed to provisional ballot issues in Chatham County, Ga., where he said voters who were told they need to cast a provisional ballot were turned away because some polling locations ran out. He said the campaign is holding off on filing a lawsuit there until they collect more affidavits from people who couldn’t vote or from those who had uncounted provisional ballots.
If you wonder where the money came from to pay for the Abrams “legal team,” you’re not alone. The Atlanta Journal Constitution asked where a candidate who can’t pay her federal taxes acquired this kind of money, but has had trouble getting an answer: “Abrams won’t say where the money came from.” But the AJC kept digging and found that one source of the Abrams bankroll was the usual suspect: “George Soros has given $1.25 million to Abrams’ political action committee.… He also donated $1 million to the Georgia Democratic Party this year to support her campaign.” This helped pay for more than lawyers:
At least 13 political consultants, fundraisers and other contractors working for Abrams this year have served in similar capacities for her foundations, her political action committee or her legislative campaigns. At least 11 paid members of her campaign staff also worked for Abrams’ other political and non-profit groups. They include Lauren Groh-Wargo, who was Abrams’ top aide on both foundations before becoming her campaign manager.
Groh-Wargo is the operative who complained to the New Yorker, “We’re in unprecedented territory here, with the secretary of state being in a race that is too close to call as the chief elections officer of Georgia.” And yet, when he resigned and was immediately replaced by Robyn Crittenden, Groh-Wargo seemed miffed: “If @BrianKempGA cared about Georgians and being a legitimate Gov, he would wait until results are certified, AT A MIN. He is making a joke of our elections system and stepping on basic rights.” It’s almost as if she’s disappointed to have Crittenden as the state’s chief elections officer. One wonders why.
But arithmetic is the real adversary of the Abrams campaign. They believe they can drive Kemp’s total below 50 percent with 15,000 votes, as Groh-Wargo told the New Yorker. Her primary gift is clearly not math. It will take at least 30,000, and they aren’t there. This is why their lawyers are running around the state trying to “force” heavily Democratic counties to add invalid votes to their tallies. And, when that fails, the next gambit will be a lawsuit demanding a rule change on recounts. If that fate befalls us, the hapless voters of Georgia will be looking back nostalgically on the halcyon days of hanging, dimpled, and pregnant chads.