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Stacey Abrams steps out of governor's race after weeks of lawsuits, ballot counts

Abrams stopped short of calling it a concession but said she saw no way forward in the bitter race.

In what she said should not be called a concession speech, Stacey Abrams acknowledged that she had no further path in the Georgia governor's race. She acknowledged that Brian Kemp will be certified as the state's next governor.

"Make no mistake, the former secretary of state was deliberate and intentional in his actions," Abrams said. "I know that 8 years of systemic disenfranchisement, disinvestment and incompetence had its desired effect on the electoral process in Georgia."

Stacey Abrams also said she would be starting a new program known as Fair Fight Georgia through which she would file a major lawsuit against the state of Georgia due to what she called "gross mismanagement." She said the new operation would "pursue accountability in Georgia's elections and integrity in the process of maintaining our voting rolls.

"We all understand the challenges and the complications," Abrams said. "However, this year, more than 200 years into Georgia's Democratic experiment the state failed its voters."

She drew attention to more than 1 million names she said were stripped from the voter rolls by Brian Kemp, then serving as secretary of state. She said that tens of thousands were "in limbo" due to user error and "a system of oppression that had already proven its bias."

Abrams said that this election has been used to "diagnose what has been broken in our process."

Abrams also took on those who would call her speech upon stepping out of the race inappropriate.

"Pundits and hyper-partisans will hear my words as a rejection of the normal order," she said. "You see, I'm supposed to say nice things and accept my fate."

But she described stoicism "as a luxury" and silence "as a weapon for those who would quiet the voices of the people."

Brian Kemp's campaign plans to speak on Saturday but released a statement saying that the "election is over and hardworking Georgians are ready to move forward."

"Under the leadership of Governors Perdue and Deal, our state has experienced unmatched growth and prosperity," Kemp said. "We will work diligently in the transition process to build on their accomplishments and keep Georgia moving in the right direction."

He also asked Georgians to stand with him in the days ahead.

"Together, we will realize the opportunities and tackle the challenges to come," he said in his statement. "We will be a state that puts hardworking Georgians – no matter their zip code or political preference - first!”

Earlier in the day, 11Alive learned that the Abrams campaign was considering an unprecedented legal challenge in the unresolved Georgia governor's race that could have left the state's Supreme Court deciding whether to force another round of voting.

Her longshot strategy was being discussed as Georgia elections officials appeared to be on the cusp of certifying Republican Brian Kemp as the winner of a bitterly fought campaign.

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