Gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams, Brian Kemp

Gubernatorial candidates Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp are running neck and neck in the race to decide who is to replace outgoing Gov. Nathan Deal. (File Photo)

Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp appeared to be just over the 50 percent thresh hold needed statewide to avoid a runoff in a close gubernatorial race early Wednesday morning, but Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams was not ready to give in, saying her campaign was going to make sure every vote was counted.

“Tonight, we closed the gap between yesterday and tomorrow,” Abrams told supporters early Wednesday morning. “But we still have a few more miles to go.”

Kemp is currently ahead of Abrams by nearly 68,000 votes with 99% of precincts reporting, according to CNN election results. But he only has 50.4% of the vote. If neither candidate receives 50%, there will be a runoff in early December.

Libertarian candidate Ted Metz, who had been talked about as a possible spoiler who could draw enough vote to force the race into a runoff between Kemp and Abrams, had received 0.95 percent of the statewide vote.

Abrams said her campaign was waiting for several absentee and provisional ballots to be counted and were planning on a runoff happening.

In a statement provided to CNN, her campaign cited several specific reasons why she is not conceding, including that three of the state's largest counties "have reported only a portion of the votes that were submitted by early mail" and four other large counties "have reported exactly 0 votes by mail," according to the campaign. Together, it said, the seven counties "are expected to return a minimum of 77,000 ballots."

"These counties also represent heavily-Democratic leaning constituencies, and the majority of those votes are anticipated to be for Stacey Abrams," the statement read.

The campaign also said it was waiting for absentee ballots -- "another major pickup opportunity for Abrams"-- to be counted, something that Abrams told her supporters in Atlanta as well.

"Across our state, folks are opening up the dreams of voters in absentee ballots, and we believe our chance for a stronger Georgia is just within reach. But we cannot seize it until all voices are heard," Abrams said at the event early Wednesday morning. "And I promise you tonight, we're going to make sure that every vote is counted."

Voters rights issues have taken front and center in the Georgia high profile gubernatorial race between Kemp, the GOP secretary of state, and Abrams, a Georgia state representative. If elected, Abrams would be the nation's first black female governor.

Democrats have accused Kemp of a conflict of interest as he refused to step away from his post overseeing state elections while he campaigned for governor.

Last month, a federal judge ruled Georgia election officials had to stop rejecting absentee ballots with voters' signatures that didn't appear to match signatures on record.

On Sunday, Kemp's office opened an investigation into the Georgia Democratic Party for what it said was an attempted hack of the state's voter registration system, without providing proof. Georgia Democrats flatly denied the allegation.

He dismissed critics alleging that he weaponized state law to suppress the minority vote as "outside agitators."

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in a Georgia federal court by five state voters asked a judge to strip Kemp of his powers over the midterm election -- including any potential runoffs.

“If I wasn’t your first choice or you made no choice at all, you’re going to have to chance at a do over,” Abrams said. “Our vision is clear and we can see the finish line,”

In other state races, Republicans dominated with Geoff Duncan winning with 52.3 percent of the vote in the lt. governor’s race, Chris Carr winning the attorney general race with 51.95 percent of the vote, Gary Black winning commissioner of agriculture with 53.7 percent of the vote, Jim Beck winning commissioner of insurance with 51.03 percent, Richard Woods being re-elected to state school superintendent with 53.68 percent of the vote and commissioner of labor Mark Butler being re-elected with 53.12 percent of the vote.

The secretary of state race appears to be headed for a run-off between Republican Brad Raffensperger and Democrat John Barrow.


CNN Newssource contributed to this report

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