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The Latest: Adviser: GOP’s Kemp declaring victory in Georgia

Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks to supporters about a suspected run-off during an election night watch party, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Atlanta. Abrams, the first black woman to be a major party nominee for governor in the United States, faced Republican challenger Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. (AP Photo/John Amis)

ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on the race for Georgia governor (all times local):

4:50 p.m.

A campaign adviser for Republican Brian Kemp adviser says the candidate is declaring victory in Georgia governor’s race.

Campaign official Ryan Mahoney made the announcement during a Wednesday afternoon conference call with reporters. Kemp was not on the call.

Mahoney says, “We are declaring victory.”

A second campaign official, Austin Chambers, said on the call, “The message here is pretty simple: This election is over, and the results are clear”

Kemp has just more than 50 percent of Tuesday’s vote, which would give him the majority threshold needed to secure a victory. The Associated Press has not called the race.

Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams has not conceded the race, and her campaign believes there are enough uncounted ballots to force Kemp into a runoff.

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4:30 p.m.

Stacey Abrams’ campaign is making a post-election advertising push to make sure no provisional ballots go uncounted in her bid for Georgia governor against Republican Brian Kemp.

The campaign announced an ad buy Wednesday on Georgia radio stations that focus on black and Latino audiences.

The campaign is encouraging voters who cast provisional ballots to call the Democratic Party’s voter protection hotline so Abrams’ aides can track those ballots.

Incomplete returns show Kemp with a lead that puts him narrowly above the majority threshold required to avoid a Dec. 4 runoff.

But Abrams’ campaign believes there are enough uncounted ballots to force Kemp below 50 percent and trigger a runoff.

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2:15 p.m.

Two of Georgia’s largest counties were still tabulating thousands of votes as Democrat Stacey Abrams tries to narrow the gap in a close race for governor with Republican Brian Kemp.

Gwinnett County spokesman Joe Sorenson said Wednesday that nearly 20,000 absentee ballots and about 2,000 provisional ballots were being counted. He didn’t know how many had been counted or when that would be complete.

In Fulton County, Director of Registration and Elections Richard Barron says nearly 3,700 provisional ballots have yet to be counted, along with an unknown number of ballots mailed from overseas.

Kemp has just more than 50 percent of the vote, which would give him the majority threshold needed to secure a victory.

Abrams and her campaign said Wednesday that they hope to pick up about 15,000 votes to force a runoff.

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1:15 p.m.

A spokeswoman for the Georgia secretary of state’s office says a lawsuit seeking to keep Secretary of State Brian Kemp from further presiding over the midterm elections is a “twelfth-hour stunt.”

Kemp is Georgia’s top elections official and the Republican candidate for governor.

Nonprofit Protect Democracy said in a news release that the lawsuit was filed at 5 p.m. Tuesday. It seeks to keep him from being involved in counting votes, certifying results or any runoff or recount.

The lawsuit says that Kemp presiding over an election in which he is a candidate “violates a basic notion of fairness.”

Secretary of state’s office spokeswoman Candice Broce said in an email that Kemp has been notified of the lawsuit. She said it won’t keep the office from fulfilling its responsibilities.

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4:15 a.m.

Republican nominee for Georgia governor Brian Kemp says he is “confident victory is near” but is waiting on final results in the close race.

Kemp told supporters at his election party Tuesday night that “the math is on our side to win this election” but stopped short of claiming victory.

Earlier, opponent Stacey Abrams implied that a runoff is likely in the election. The Democrat told supporters they would “have a chance to do a do-over.”

The Associated Press has not called the race.

Kemp has a narrow lead in the vote count but the race could still go to a runoff. In Georgia, a race goes to an automatic runoff if neither candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote.

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



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