Georgia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams insists that her refusal to concede the 2018 governor's race is different than former President Donald Trump's rejection of the 2020 presidential election outcome.
Abrams, who this year again is running against Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, claimed her issues in 2018 had to do with voter access and not voter fraud, which was what Trump pointed to in 2020.
"I will never ever say that it is OK to claim fraudulent outcomes as a way to give yourself power," Abrams told The 19th. "That is wrong. I reject it and will never engage in it. But I do believe that it is imperative, especially those who have the platform and the microphone, to talk about the access."
Abrams, despite never conceding, eventually acknowledged Kemp won the 2018 election.
"Democrats attack Trump and Republicans for believing these conspiracies, believing what they call the 'Big Lie.' But the original Big Lie proponent was Stacey Abrams," Brian Robinson, a Georgia-based GOP strategist, told Politico in late 2021. "She was ahead of her time, as she is on so many things."
Abrams has rejected that notion, saying her goal in 2018 was not to overturn the results of the election.
"The issues that I raised in 2018 were not grounded in making me the governor," Abrams said. "Not a single lawsuit filed would have reversed or changed the outcome of the election.
"My point was that the access to the election was flawed, and I refuse to concede a system that permits citizens to be denied access. That is very different than someone claiming fraudulent outcome."
Abrams' main focus this year is ensuring voter access for the November election.
She has criticized Kemp for signing Georgia’s Election Integrity Act in March 2021. The law requires a photo ID in order to vote absentee by mail, reduced the time people have to request an absentee ballot, and limited where ballot drop boxes can be placed and when they can be accessed.
Democrats and voting rights groups say the law disproportionately disenfranchises voters of color.
Kemp has held a steady lead over Abrams in polling, the Washington Examiner said. Nearly half of Georgia voters say they intend to vote for Kemp, compared to 42% who say they intend to vote for Abrams, according to a Fox 5/Insider Advantage poll.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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