On Friday morning, during an appearance on CNN, host Brianna Keilar asked Abrams if she conceded the race. She stuck to the same script from November 2018.
"I on November 16th, 2018, acknowledged at the top of my speech that Brian Kemp is the governor of Georgia. I even wished him well at the end of the speech. And in the middle I talked about the fact that we had a system that he managed, that he manipulated, that hurt Georgia voters. And the responsibility of leaders is to challenge systems that are not serving the people. My responsibility was not to try and make myself governor, I have been very well aware for three years I am not the governor of Georgia." she said.
When asked if she saw Kemp's "victory as legitimate," Abrams had a similar tactic and said "he won under the rules of the game at the time. But the game was rigged against the voters of Georgia." She went on to mention that "and so, yes, he became the governor. And we have watched him fail for three years."
Abrams also discussed her candidacy with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Thursday night.
"On the night on the 16th of November when I acknowledged I would not become governor, that he had won the election, I did not challenge the outcome of the election unlike some recent folks did. What I said was that the system was not fair," Abrams shared.
She went on to use this as an example of leadership. "Leaders challenge systems. Leaders say we can do better. That is what I declared. I could not in good conscience say in order to protect my political future I'll be silent about the political present which is that we have a system under a leader that sought to keep people from casting their ballot that threw the ballots out that said that voter suppression was a viable tactic for winning elections."
Maddow did not push back on Abrams' response.
In covering Abrams' remarks for The Washington Examiner, Daniel Chaitin highlighted an article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Jim Galloway, who referred to the speech as a "non-concession speech."
In addition to saying, "I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election," Abrams bent over backwards to let people know she was not conceding.
"But to watch an elected official – who claims to represent the people of this state, baldly pin his hopes for election on the suppression of the people's democratic right to vote – has been truly appalling. So, to be clear, this is not a speech of concession," she said right after. "Concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper. As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede."
Curiously, Abrams a moment later had said "Now, I could certainly bring a new case to keep this one contest alive, but I don't want to hold public office if I need to scheme my way into the post," which is curious because Abrams since claimed she won that election. So much for saying she didn't want it.
She never acknowledged Kemp actually won - she acknowledged he would become Governor. She explicitly rejected the fact that Kemp won, and on multiple occasions claimed she would have won if there wasn’t voter suppression or that she actually did win. https://t.co/q0CgtEsGUq— Eric Cunningham (@decunningham2) December 3, 2021
A piece from April 28, 2019 that David Marchese wrote for The New York Times addressed "Why Stacey Abrams is still saying she won."
Also in 2019, Matt highlighted how Abrams claimed, "we don't have to concede elections anymore."
It's particularly rich, then, that Abrams would call out "some recent folks" when it comes to challenging election results. This came up during the recent Virginia gubernatorial election, when Abrams campaigned for Democrat Terry McAuliffe. He eventually went on to lose to his Republican opponent, Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin, last month.
Stacey Abrams and Terry McAuliffe have something in common: they both claimed elections were stolen.— Glenn Youngkin (@GlennYoungkin) October 16, 2021
McAuliffe's shameless embrace of Abrams is telling. It’s clear he’s a dishonest politician who says one thing and does the exact opposite. #VAgov pic.twitter.com/efLh6gCwVG
McAuliffe himself had also repeated Abrams' own version of "the Big Lie."
Abrams' involvement in the Virginia race was concerning enough for Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who authored a piece for RealClearPolitics on October 21, "The Danger of the McAuliffe-Abrams Stolen Election Claims."
As he wrote:
Since November 2018, Abrams has alleged repeatedly that her election was “stolen.” She filed a lawsuit against Georgia’s elections officials that continues to this day, though a federal judge appointed by President Obama has thrown out the most headline-generating allegations. She has raised millions of dollars off of her stolen election claims and has since built a national profile based on lies about the integrity of Georgia’s elections. She has referred to Republicans as domestic enemies.
So far, Abrams is the only Democratic candidate announced. Gov. Kemp has multiple primary challengers, including former Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones.