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Trump mocks 'late' votes in Georgia governor race, sarcastically blames Putin

The president declared Republican Brian Kemp the winner over Stacey Abrams — even though votes are still being counted.
Republican Brian Kemp speaks to supporters on election night in Athens, Georgia, on Nov. 7, 2018.
Republican Brian Kemp speaks to supporters on election night in Athens, Georgia, on Nov. 7, 2018.Joshua L. Jones / Athens Banner-Herald via AP

President Donald Trump on Friday declared Republican Brian Kemp the winner of the Georgia governor's race against Democrat Stacey Abrams, despite the fact that votes are still being counted.

NBC News has deemed the contest too close to call. Kemp has 50.3 percent of the vote, or 1,979,913 votes, Abrams has 48.7 percent, or 1,910,853 votes, and a third-party Libertarian candidate has 0.9 percent, or 37,094 votes, according to NBC News.

If the margin is less than 1 percent between the top two candidates, a candidate may request a recount. Another possibility is that if the counting of additional votes pushed Kemp's percentage below 50 percent, a runoff between Kemp and Abrams would take place next month.

Abrams has not conceded and her campaign said Friday they were filing additional litigation related to absentee ballots. Already, the campaign has gone to court to try to get certain ballots counted and related election documents preserved.

Trump also sarcastically suggested the ongoing vote counts in Georgia and Florida is the work of the Russians.

"Let's blame the Russians and demand an immediate apology from President Putin!" Trump tweeted, two days after a boastful Wednesday press conference in which the president argued that he had personally staved off a blue wave and boosted his party's Senate gains.

In the close Georgia governor's race, the Abrams campaign said there is no way for Kemp to know how many outstanding ballots are left, because of incoming ballots from military overseas and provisional ballots.

Voters who cast a provisional ballot due to registration problems have until Friday afternoon to provide additional verification — like a marriage certificate to clear up a name change on a ballot, for instance — to get those ballots counted.

Kemp said Thursday that even if Abrams received "100 percent" of the remaining provisional ballots, she could not close the margin.

"The votes are not there for her," Kemp said. "I certainly respect the hard-fought race that she ran. But that's a decision she's going to have to make. But we've run the race, it's very clear now and we're moving forward with the transition."