Georgia Secretary Of State Brad Raffensperger—Who Refused To Overturn 2020 Election—Defeats Trump Endorsee In GOP Primary
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Topline

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has fended off a primary challenge from Trump-backed Rep. Jody Hice and earned the Republican nomination for a second term as Georgia’s top election official, the Associated Press projected early Wednesday—possibly rescuing Raffensperger’s political career after his refusal to overturn Trump’s 2020 election defeat infuriated the former president.

Key Facts

The AP called the race for Raffensperger at around 1 a.m. Wednesday, with more than 90% of votes counted.

Raffensperger led the field with about 52.1% of votes, followed by Hice at 33.6% and David Belle Isle at 8.8%, according to data compiled by the AP.

The Democratic nominee for Georgia secretary of state remains unclear, but state Rep. Bee Nguyen is in the lead.

Key Background

During the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden became the first Democrat to win Georgia in 30 years, albeit by a margin of about 0.25%, a victory confirmed by two recounts. Soon after, Raffensperger and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) became targets for Trump’s attacks after they declined to endorse the former president’s false claims of widespread voter fraud in the presidential election. Raffensperger further alienated Trump supporters when he rejected an effort to stage a sweeping audit of signatures on Georgia’s absentee ballots, which Raffensperger said fell outside his office’s authority. Trump has been quick to endorse challengers who supported his baseless voter fraud narrative, including Hice, who promised he would “aggressively pursue” supposed voter fraud culprits if elected.

Tangent

Raffensperger featured in a pivotal episode in Trump’s push to undo his 2020 election loss: During an infamous hour-long January 2021 phone call first reported by the Washington Post, Trump urged Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to swing Georgia in his favor, and also implied Raffensperger might be guilty of a “criminal offense” if he refuses to comply. During the call, Raffensperger rebuffed the president, stating that “the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong.”

Surprising Fact

Most primary candidates endorsed by Trump have won so far this year, though the former president has faced some high-profile losses. Most notably, Kemp won the GOP nomination for governor on Tuesday, easily defeating Trump-backed challenger David Perdue.

Further Reading

“Georgia Politicians Target Raffensperger Over Trump Election Dispute—Say Voters Shouldn’t Pick Secretary Of State In The Future” (Forbes)



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