ATLANTA — Brian Kemp, the Republican who has claimed victory in Georgia’s governor’s race, mentioned on Thursday that he was resigning as secretary of state, eradicating himself from the method of figuring out whether or not he had in truth been elected.
With some ballots nonetheless to be counted, his Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, is simply shy of sufficient votes to pressure a runoff. Ms. Abrams has not conceded, and The Related Press and different main information organizations say the race remains to be too near name.
Mr. Kemp attracted mounting criticism in the course of the marketing campaign for his administration of an election through which he was additionally a candidate, however he had dismissed repeated calls from Democrats for him to resign within the weeks earlier than Election Day.
Mr. Kemp made no point out of the elections course of on Thursday in his resignation letter to the outgoing Republican governor, Nathan Deal, saying he was resigning as a result of he wished “to deal with the transition to my gubernatorial administration.”
Showing with Mr. Deal at a morning information convention on the State Capitol in Atlanta, Mr. Kemp mentioned, “I believe in mild of the place we at the moment are, this can give public confidence to the certification course of, despite the fact that, fairly truthfully, it’s being executed on the county degree.”
Robyn A. Crittenden, the commissioner of the Georgia Division of Human Providers, will change into the performing secretary of state and oversee the certification of Georgia’s election outcomes. Ms. Crittenden is assuming the workplace at a risky second in Georgia, with Ms. Abrams’s marketing campaign nonetheless elevating pointed questions concerning the integrity of the election.
Ms. Crittenden can even supervise runoffs in no less than two different statewide races, one in all them for secretary of state, in addition to one for governor if Ms Abrams’s marketing campaign succeeds in forcing one.
As Mr. Kemp’s resignation took impact at 11:59 a.m. Thursday, his workplace mentioned he had gained 50.three % of the vote and held a lead of about 63,000 votes over Ms. Abrams. To win the governorship, Mr. Kemp should have an outright majority.
However Ms. Abrams’s marketing campaign believes there may be nonetheless a possible path to a runoff, as soon as all remaining absentee and provisional ballots are tabulated.
“Why is Brian Kemp speeding to declare himself the winner at the same time as extra votes are available that might change the end result?” an e mail circulated by Ms. Abrams’s marketing campaign requested on Thursday morning.
Mr. Kemp’s resignation as secretary of state appeared to render moot a federal lawsuit filed on Tuesday by the nonprofit group Defend Democracy demanding Mr. Kemp’s recusal. A listening to in that case was scheduled for Thursday.
As Mr. Kemp and Mr. Deal spoke on the Capitol, protesters stood exterior the governor’s workplace suite with indicators demanding that each vote be counted correctly. A detachment of state troopers stood guard.
Mr. Kemp’s twin roles as each participant and referee within the governor’s race has infuriated Democrats ever since he gained the Republican nomination. They ceaselessly accused him of utilizing his workplace to additional a marketing campaign of voter suppression, by way of purges of voter rolls and different disputed actions.
Jimmy Carter, who was governor of Georgia earlier than being elected to the White Home, warned Mr. Kemp in a letter that his refusal to step down earlier than the election ran “counter to probably the most basic precept of democratic elections — that the electoral course of be managed by an impartial and neutral election authority.”
Over the weekend earlier than Election Day, Mr. Kemp took a step that drew the best criticism of all. In a vaguely worded announcement that provided no proof, Mr. Kemp’s workplace mentioned it had opened an investigation into the Democratic Get together of Georgia after “a failed try and hack the state’s voter registration system.”
Democrats denied any wrongdoing and condemned the investigation — and particularly the general public announcement of it two days earlier than the election — as a last-minute political stunt. However Mr. Kemp as soon as once more rejected calls to step down at the moment.
On Thursday morning, standing within the stately ceremonial workplace lengthy utilized by the state’s governors, he mentioned he would now spend his time making ready to maneuver in.