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#3 GOP gov candidate Kemp resigns as Georgia secretary of state

ATLANTA — Republican Brian Kemp resigned Thursday as Georgia's secretary of state, a day after his campaign said he's captured enough votes to become governor despite his rival's refusal to concede.

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Stacey Abrams' campaign immediately responded by refusing to accept Kemp's declaration of victory in the race and demanding that state officials "count every single vote."

As the state's top election official, Kemp oversaw the race, a marquee contest in the nation's midterms. His resignation Thursday morning came as a hearing began for a lawsuit in which five voters asked that he be barred from exercising his duties in any future management of his own election tally.

Abrams' campaign had repeatedly accused Kemp of improperly using his post as secretary of state and had been calling for him to step down for months, saying his continuation in the job was a conflict of interest. But Kemp made clear that he wasn't stepping down in response to that criticism, but to start on his transition to the governor's office.

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