Jimmy Carter to Ga. Official: Step Down Before Election

Carter sends letter to secretary of state Brian Kemp in contentious gubernatorial race
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 29, 2018 1:10 PM CDT
Jimmy Carter to Ga. Official: Step Down Before Election
In this May 20, 2018, file photo, Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp participates in a debate in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/John Amis, File)

Former President Jimmy Carter is wading into the contentious Georgia governor's race with a personal appeal to Republican candidate Brian Kemp: Resign as secretary of state to avoid damaging public confidence in the outcome of his hotly contested matchup with Democrat Stacey Abrams. The 94-year-old Carter's request, made in an Oct. 22 letter obtained by the AP, is the latest turn in a campaign whose closing month is being defined by charges of attempted voter suppression and countercharges of attempted voter fraud. Kemp has thus far dismissed Democratic demands that he step aside as Georgia's chief elections officer. But Carter attempted to approach the matter less as a partisan who has endorsed Abrams and more as the former president who's spent the decades since he left the Oval Office monitoring elections around the world.

"One of the key requirements for a fair and trusted process is that there be a nonbiased supervision of the electoral process," Carter wrote, adding that stepping aside "would be a sign that you recognize the importance of this key democratic principle and want to ensure the confidence of our citizens in the outcome." It was not immediately clear whether Kemp has read the letter or responded. A spokeswoman in Kemp's office, where the letter was addressed, referred questions to Kemp's campaign, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Addressing calls for his resignation during a recent debate with Abrams, Kemp noted that bipartisan panels of local officials run much of the elections process. More on the controversy and Carter's letter here. (A big name recently went door-to-door stumping for Abrams.)

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