ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
43°
Sunny
H 43° L 26°
  • cloudy-day
    43°
    Current Conditions
    Sunny. H 43° L 26°
  • clear-day
    43°
    Today
    Sunny. H 43° L 26°
  • clear-day
    47°
    Tomorrow
    Mostly Clear. H 47° L 38°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Abrams ends Georgia governor bid, says she'll file lawsuit

Democrat Stacey Abrams ended 10 days of post-election drama in Georgia's closely watched and even more closely contested race for governor Friday, acknowledging Republican Brian Kemp as the victor while defiantly refusing to concede to the man she blamed for "gross mismanagement" of a bitterly fought election.

The speech Abrams delivered at her campaign headquarters Friday evening marked the close of the 44-year-old attorney and former lawmaker's unsuccessful attempt to make history as America's first black woman governor. Since Election Day her campaign fought on, insisting efforts to suppress turnout had left thousands of ballots uncounted that otherwise could erode Kemp's lead and force a runoff election.

Kemp, the 55-year-old businessman who oversaw the election as Georgia's secretary of state, will keep the governor's office in GOP hands as the state's third Republican governor since Reconstruction. He responded to Abrams ending her campaign by calling for unity and praising his opponent's "passion, hard work, and commitment to public service."

The kind words came just days after Kemp's campaign spokesman derided Abrams' efforts to have contested ballots counted as a "disgrace to democracy."

Abrams made no such retreat from her criticisms of Kemp, saying she refused "to say nice things and accept my fate." Instead, she announced plans to file a federal lawsuit to challenge the way Georgia's elections are run. She accused Kemp of using the secretary of state's office to aggressively purge the rolls of inactive voters, enforce an "exact match" policy for checking voters' identities that left thousands of registrations in limbo and other measures to tile the outcome in his favor.

"Let's be clear: This is not a speech of concession," Abrams said. "Because concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper. As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede that."

The race grabbed the attention of the nation, with Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey campaigning for Abrams in the final days and President Donald Trump holding a rally for Kemp.

Unofficial returns showed Kemp ahead by roughly 60,000 votes out of nearly 4 million cast on Nov. 6. Kemp declared himself governor-elect the next day and stepped down as Georgia's secretary of state, though thousands of absentee and provisional ballots remained uncounted.

Abrams, meanwhile, sent volunteers across the state in search of voters whose ballots were rejected. She filed suit in federal court to force county elections boards to count absentee ballots with incorrect birthdates. Her campaign even planned for possible litigation to challenge the election's certified outcome.

Abrams didn't take that route. She said she had concluded "the law currently allows no further viable remedy." Instead, she said she would fight to restore integrity to Georgia's election system in a new initiative called Fair Fight Georgia.

"In the coming days, we will be filing a major federal lawsuit against the state of Georgia for the gross mismanagement of this election and to protect future elections from unconstitutional actions," Abrams said, though she gave no details.

Kemp tried to move past the contentious campaign even if his opponent wasn't willing.

"The election is over and hardworking Georgians are ready to move forward," he said. "We can no longer dwell on the divisive politics of the past but must focus on Georgia's bright and promising future."

Kemp had been secretary of state since 2010. He was backed by and had embraced Trump as he tried to maintain GOP dominance in a state that hasn't elected a Democrat to the governor's mansion since 1998.

Trump praised the Democrat in lauding Kemp's victory, tweeting: "Congratulations to Brian Kemp on becoming the new Governor of Georgia. Stacey Abrams fought brilliantly and hard -- she will have a terrific political future! Brian was unrelenting and will become a great Governor for the truly Wonderful People of Georgia!"

Kemp stormed to the GOP nomination with ads featuring everything from the candidate cranking a chain saw and jokingly pointing a gun toward a teen male suitor of his daughter, to Kemp's offer to "round up criminal illegals" himself in his pickup truck. He's promised a tax cut and teacher pay raises and pledged to continue Georgia's refusal to expand Medicaid insurance under President Barack Obama's 2010 health care overhaul.

Abrams' campaign sparked huge energy across the state and she became a national Democratic star. Election turnout among both sides' energized bases nearly equaled that of the 2016 presidential vote.

Aides close to Abrams said that since the election she had been wrestling with competing priorities: She wanted to advance her assertions that Georgia's elections process — which Kemp managed as secretary of state — makes it too hard for some citizens to vote. But she also recognized that a protracted legal fight would harm that cause and potentially her political future.

Kemp's victory is an important marker for Republicans ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Kemp's narrow margin already suggests that Georgia, a state Trump won by 5 percentage points in 2016, could be a genuine battleground in two years. Trump bet big on Kemp, endorsing him ahead of Kemp's Republican primary runoff and campaigning for him the weekend prior to the Nov. 6 election. Now, Trump will be able to return with an incumbent governor as he seeks a second term.

Abrams' political future is less certain. She made believers of old-guard Democrats in Georgia who didn't think a black woman could compete in a general election, and she emerged as the party's clear leader. But the party also has plenty of other ambitious politicians who will want to take advantage of the path that Abrams' has charted. The next big shot for Democrats is a 2020 Senate race, with Republican Sen. David Perdue making his first re-election attempt.

___

Follow Barrow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP and Brumback at https://twitter.com/katebrumback.

Read More

News

  • The 2019 Oscar nominations will revealed LIVE Tuesday on 'Good Morning America.' The nominations event will start around 8:20 a.m.  The Academy announced last week that Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross will host the event. Who's excited for #OscarNoms? Join @KumailN and @TraceeEllisRoss on Tuesday at 5:20 am PST. https://t.co/cZbmfjsA1S pic.twitter.com/drK62oiFDk — The Academy (@TheAcademy) January 17, 2019 In addition to watching on Channel 2, the event will also be streamed on The Academy's YouTube channel. WATCH 'Good Morning America' immediately following Channel 2 Action News This Morning, starting at 4:30 a.m.
  • Family and friends are remembering a University of Georgia student who died in a fiery crash. William Aaron Whitaker, of Carrollton, died Thursday night in the crash that shut down the interstate between I-285 and Fulton Industrial Boulevard for about 10 hours, UGA spokesman Greg Trevor told AJC.com.  Learn how his loved ones are honoring him, on Channel 2 Action News at 5 p.m.  Whitaker was a sophomore studying exercise science and athletic training, according to an obituary on the Hightower Family Funeral Homes website.  Mario Vilan Polier, 53, of Hialeah, Florida, faces charges of improper lane change, following too closely and second-degree homicide by vehicle in connection with the incident.  Polier’s tractor-trailer overturned onto its passenger side while traveling on I-20 east around 7:30 p.m., crashing into a concrete barrier between the eastbound and westbound lanes, the Georgia State Patrol said. Debris from the concrete barrier went into the westbound lanes, striking two vehicles. TRENDING STORIES: Blood pressure medication recalled due to cancer risk Heads up, drivers: Multiple roads close for Super Bowl events beginning today DFCS dismissed abuse report before Georgia kids were found buried One of those vehicles was Whitaker’s, who died at the scene, GSP said. Three other people were also injured in the crash, but their conditions were not released. The deadly wreck shut down all eastbound I-20 lanes and all but one westbound lane Thursday night, and it brought brought I-20 traffic to a standstill back to Thornton Road, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center.  Polier is in the Fulton County Jail on a $35,000 bond, according to county jail records. He also has a hold placed on him by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
  • A 9-year-old boy driving an all-terrain vehicle crashed over the weekend, killing a 58-year-old passenger in Osceola County, the Florida Highway Patrol said. >> Read more trending news Troopers said the boy was trying to avoid another ATV Saturday on 8 Mile Ranch Road when the vehicle he was operating hit a brim and overturned onto Laura Bizzell, of Avon Park. The boy suffered minor injuries, but Bizzell died, according to the FHP. The other ATV driver, Samuel Christmas, 53, suffered minor injuries.  Authorities continue to investigate the incident.
  • The first time Tom Brady won a Super Bowl ring, Sean McVay was just 16 years old. Now the Los Angeles Rams head coach, who turns 33 on Thursday, will have chance to defeat Brady and the Patriots more than 17 years later in the place where he grew up. “It’s kind of ironic that the only Super Bowl that I’ve been to as a fan was the last time the Rams played the Titans,” McVay said after winning NFC Championship. “I was at that game. My Grandpa, when he was still involved in the NFL, he got me tickets for my birthday.” Channel 2's Berndt Petersen traveled to Marist School in DeKalb County, where the head coach is still beloved in the community McVay led the War Eagles to a 6-AAAA state championship in 2003. Hear from Marist coaches about what it means to have one of their own play for Super Bowl in their backyard, on Channel 2 Action News at 4 and 5 p.m.  Hero of Marist High heads to the Super Bowl. 4:45 pic.twitter.com/dSHqhYIQVv — Berndt Petersen (@BPetersenWSB) January 21, 2019 Stay with Channel 2 Action News and WSBTV.com for complete Super Bowl LIII coverage leading up to the big game. Download our news app to get FREE alerts sent to phone and tablet and find complete coverage of Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta here  
  • Police in Tallahassee, Florida, responded to a video of a toddler exiting a truck with her hands up over her head, mimicking her parents’ arrest, and walking toward officers who had their guns drawn, by releasing body camera footage taken from a different angle, WCTV reported. >> Read more trending news  The incident took place Thursday, and after the cellphone video taken by a passerby during a shoplifting arrest went viral, Tallahassee police Chief Michael DeLeo released several clips from officer body cameras, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. DeLeo said 10 different body camera angles were used in reviewing the incident. 'I believe that incidents like this justify our investment in body worn cameras and the importance of getting all the facts,' DeLeo said in a video released on the Police Department’s official Facebook page. The video released by the Tallahassee police shows the original video that went viral, followed by a statement from DeLeo about the incident. It ends with the body camera footage. On Thursday afternoon, Chad M. Bom, 34, and James W. McMullen, 38, were charged with theft from a Bealls Outlet store in Tallahassee, according to the news release posted on the Police Department’s Facebook page. Both men were charged with petit theft, the Democrat reported. The mother of the toddler was at the scene Police had responded to reports of a theft by an armed suspect at the Bealls shopping outlet around 4:30 p.m. and pulled over a truck. They were surprised when the toddler got out and began to mimic her parents, WCTV reported. 'It's OK, sweetie. You don't have to put your hands up,' one officer can be heard saying in the body camera footage. Footage also showed the police allowing the child’s mother to hold the baby while they found a pellet gun in the back seat of the vehicle near a 1-year-old boy who was still strapped into his car seat, WCTV reported. DeLeo said he was 'proud' of his officers' response, adding he felt they showed compassion for the family. “This video footage captures the compassion demonstrated by our TPD officers during an intense situation. I’m very proud of their actions and appreciative of the work these men and women do each day to keep our community safe,” Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey said in a statement. 
  • Two people were injured Sunday night after a police car struck them as they lay in a Florida roadway, apparently to watch the lunar eclipse, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news The incident happened just before midnight Sunday near the Apoxee Trail, a 2.5-mile nature trail in West Palm Beach, according to WPBF and city officials. A police officer was patrolling the trail Sunday in a Ford Explorer when he struck a man and a woman, both 24, while traveling 5 mph, WPEC and WPBF reported. At the time, the area was extremely dark, according to officials. Police told WPBF that investigators believe the pair was lying in the road to photograph and watch the super blood wolf moon lunar eclipse. They were taken to a hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, according to the news station. The officer who struck the pair, who was not identified, was placed on paid administrative leave as police investigate the incident, WPEC reported. Authorities continue to investigate.