'Witch hunt': Stacey Abrams blasts Brian Kemp's 11th-hour investigation into Georgia Democrats

She said she believes Kemp "cooked up" charges against Democrats after reports emerged of security flaws in the state's voter database, which Kemp controls as secretary of state.
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Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks to supporters at a rally on Monday in Rincon.Stephen B. Morton / AP

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By Dartunorro Clark

Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said Monday that her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, was abusing his power as secretary of state to conduct a last-minute "witch hunt" into the state's Democratic Party.

"It's wrong to call it an investigation," Abrams, who is locked in a tight race with Kemp, told CNN Monday. "It's a witch hunt that was created by someone who is abusing his power."

Kemp, the GOP gubernatorial nominee who is overseeing Georgia's elections, announced Sunday that he was investigating Georgia's Democratic Party over an attempted hack of the voter registration system. Kemp did not provide evidence to back up his claims.

This is the sharpest criticism yet from Abrams, who on Sunday called Kemp's hacking claim "a desperate attempt on the part of my opponent to distract people."

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Abrams also told ABC News on Monday that she believes Kemp "cooked up the charge" after reports emerged of security flaws in the state's voter database, which Kemp controls as secretary of state.

"This is another failure of his leadership, and he recognizes that if he got caught two days before the election having exposed so many Georgians, he would lose, so he did what he always does, blame someone else for his mistakes," she said.

Kemp alleged on Sunday that the state Democratic Party made a "failed attempt to hack the state's voter registration system" and announced that his office was opening an investigation into the party. Kemp said his office alerted the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, but he offered no evidence to back up his allegation.

Democrats swiftly responded to the claim, calling it a shameless "political stunt" two days before Election Day.

Kemp told reporters on Monday that he is "not worried about how it looks" to launch an investigation into his opponents so close to the election.

"I'm doing my job," Kemp said. "This is how we would handle any investigation when something like this comes up. Because I can assure you, if I hadn't done anything and the story came out that something was going on, you'd be going, 'Why didn't you act?'"

On Sunday, Candice Broce, press secretary for the secretary of state, said Kemp's office would release additional information "as soon as we can."

"While we cannot comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation, I can confirm that the Democratic Party of Georgia is under investigation for possible cyber crimes," Broce said in a statement. "We can also confirm that no personal data was breached and our system remains secure."'

Marianna Sotomayor contributed.