Republican Brian Kemp was reluctant to declare victory after Democrat Stacey Abrams refused to concede.
Voter energy this year eclipsed previous elections with record-breaking turnout across the state. Despite well over a million more voters participating in the 2018 Midterm Election than those who voted in the 2014 Midterm Election, there was no clear winner in the race for governor.
As the night moved into the early morning, Kemp maintains a narrow lead over Democrat Abrams. But despite trailing by more than 100,000 votes, the Abrams campaign showed no plans of delivering a concession speech citing a large number of mail-in and provisional ballots that had yet to be counted.
Before Stacey Abrams addressed the crowd, her campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, remained optimistic, telling a crowd of supporters, "We believe this is headed for a runoff."
Groh-Wargo cited the thousands of absentee and provisional ballots as well as a large number of uncounted votes in metro counties.
At the end of the evening, Abrams addressed a large crowd of supporters telling them, "I'm here to tell you tonight votes remain to be counted."
Abrams echoed her campaign manager's words when she suggested the race was heading to a runoff by telling voters that they will have a second chance to vote for her.
"If I wasn't your first choice, or if you made no choice at all, you're gonna have a chance to do a do-over, and I need you to know that it is my mission to serve you, to serve Georgia to make you proud," Abrams said.
In Athens, several Republican candidates who won their races spoke to emphatic crowds early into the morning. The event ended with a victory speech delivered by Brian Kemp.
"I built this campaign on one promise, as Governor I would put hard-working Georgian's first. I promised to put people ahead of politics, even my own political party."
"I want to thank you for believing in our campaign when no one else would. Thank you for your love, support and prayers. Especially when we battled the radical left and took on the fake news"
But, what began to sound like a victory speech veered into a lane of caution when Kemp told supporters that there are still votes left to count. "We have a strong lead and folks make no mistake, the math is on our side to win this election," Kemp said. "We are waiting on the final results but I'm confident that victory is near."