Stacey Abrams threw down in her speech tonight. She did not concede, and she's playing for the runoff. With many provisional ballots and absentees yet to count, it sounds like she's confident she can push Brian Kemp below 50% and force him to a runoff when there will be less intensity on the Republican side (and maybe some intervention so Kemp can't cheat, too).
Exhorting the crowd with a hearty call and response at the end, Abrams brought the fire.
"Democracy only works when we work for it. When we fight for it. When we demand it. And apparently today when we stand in lines for hours to mete it at the ballot box. That's when democracy works," she said. And then she was off to the races, laying down markers.
"But I'm here tonight to tell you votes remain to be counted. There are voices waiting to be heard. 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. And I promise you tonight we're going to make sure that every vote is counted. Every single vote. Every vote is getting counted. Because I'll tell you this, in a civilized nation, the machinery of democracy should work for everyone everywhere, not just in certain places and not just on a certain day."
"But what lies on the other side of our efforts, our best lives are within reach. Fully funded public education in the state of Georgia. Medicaid expansion. And raising family incomes without raising taxes. Every Georgian we have touched along the way understands the power of the vote."
" And I will tell you, this election has tested our faith. I'm not going to name names, but some have worked hard to take our voices away, to scare us away, to distract us. But our vision is clear and we see the finish line."
"You have inspired me every single day of this campaign. I know what you sacrificed to make your way to the polls, to volunteer after work or on lunch breaks. And I know you put your faith in me and you'll do it again. Georgia, you put your faith in me but I want you to know tonight, the feeling is mutual. I want you to look around, tonight should be all the proof you need, that when we put our faith in the great state, there is nothing we can't accomplish together."
"This, this fundamental truth is why we fight on. Because Georgia still has a decision to make. A decision between division and trickery. Or a leadership that defends your rights, your kids, your career, your community and your right to vote in America! That's what's on the ballot!"
"Now, to all of Georgia's voters, including the 1.2 million who haven't shown up before, welcome aboard. But I want to say this, if I wasn't your first choice or if you made no choice at all, you're going to have a chance to have a do-over. I need you to know that it is my mission to serve you, to serve Georgia, to make you proud."
"And for those that didn't pick me the first time, to change your mind about me and what we can accomplish together. You see, I learned a long time, we don't need to agree on everything. But I will always respect you and I will do everything I can to keep you safe and help you live your best lives. Because that's what leadership requires at this moment. And it is how we breathe life back into our Republic when it seems to be shallow of breath."
With that, Abrams launched an inspiring call and response calling for "our voices, our votes!" and more.
She is not done. Not by a long shot.