Groh-Wargo, during the press conference, suggested that number could be much higher, pointing to Cobb County, where more advanced votes were accounted for early Thursday, and the fact that ballots from voters now located overseas, including members of the military, don't have to arrive until Friday.
Kemp made his announcement in the governor's office of the Georgia Capitol, standing beside the man he plans to replace in January.
His rival, Democrat Stacey Abrams, has refused to concede and is holding out until all ballots are counted in hopes for a runoff election. "Every vote must be counted, and the integrity of that election is at stake". The elections chief from the secretary of state's office said in a federal court hearing Thursday afternoon that the number is 21,190. Republican Gov. Nathan Deal called Kemp "the governor-elect" and both said they would begin transition work together.
If a runoff is necessary, it will take place December 4, extending Ms. Abrams' bid to become the first black woman elected governor in American history, while Kemp looks to maintain the GOP's domination in a state where Democrats haven't won a governor's race since 1998. Kemp seeks to maintain Republican dominance in a growing, diversifying Deep South state positioned to become a presidential battleground. She says at least that many outstanding absentee and mail-in ballots remained to be counted.
"How can anybody claim a victory when there are enough votes that have not been counted that could cause a runoff here?" Even if Abrams "got 100 percent of those votes, we still win", Kemp explained.
"The votes of all the voters of Georgia deserve to be counted before the now former secretary of state announces his victory", she said, asserting that that Kemp's marginal lead could still fall to a point that triggers a runoff or a recount.
Abrams' campaign argues the total could be higher, and the secretary of state's office has been scant in sharing details as officials in Georgia's 159 counties keep counting. County officials have until next Tuesday to certify their results and send them to Kemp's office. The state must certify a statewide result by November 20. "In light of where we are now, this will give public confidence to the certification process".
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Brian Kemp says he's won, but Stacey Abrams says there are still enough votes out there to sway the results.
One of the lawsuits heard Thursday in federal court requested Kemp be barred from overseeing the rest of the certification procedure - a requested pre-empted by Kemp's resignation. "The votes are not there for her". It told reporters it won't accept the secretary of state's data on outstanding ballots without evidence.
Broce said about 22,000 provisional ballots have yet to be processed, according to a canvass of county officials across the state. Separately, the ACLU raised concerns over 1,200 absentee ballots in Gwinnett Couny, northeast of Atlanta, which it said were rejected because of signature mismatches. "We do not believe any of these numbers are credible".
"Based on counts released by the Secretary of State's office, Brian Kemp's margin is so large that the number of provisional ballots and overseas ballots will not change his Election Day victory", Cody Hall, the Kemp campaign's press secretary, had said in a statement earlier Wednesday.
In 2016, with a slightly larger electorate, there were 16,739 provisional ballots. Of those, 7,592 were counted.
"They are trying to force an outcome ... without proof ... and expecting everyone to go along with it", the campaign said.
Abrams and her supporters had called for Kemp to step down in the lead-up to Election Day, accusing him of spearheading efforts to suppress voter turnout by suspending more than 53,000 voting registrations and purging 107,000 additional voters from the rolls.