Not everyone in state political circles is convinced that Raffensperger’s political plight is so dire. Some still see a way to re-election despite serious opposition within his own party.
Either way, as the GOP forges its post-Trump-era identity, Raffensperger’s re-election campaign emerges as one of the earliest and most controversial test cases for the party’s direction. It’s about more than just whether critics of the former president can be successful in the party. It matters whether a Republican who rejects the lie that the last election was stolen has a chance of winning another.
The answer in Georgia so far is that it will be extremely difficult – if not impossible.
It’s a remarkable twist for a conventional Republican politician whose 2018 election went largely unnoticed outside of his own state. But after Raffensperger refused to give in to Donald Trump’s calls for a change in the state’s vote and argue with Trump over the former president’s unsubstantiated claims of widespread electoral fraud, Raffensperger’s re-election campaign is unlikely to unfold as one of the most momentous in the electoral cycle – with Impact on the GOP in every state and at all levels of government.
Jason Shepherd, Republican Party leader in Cobb County, Georgia, said he had friends who were “completely uninvolved in politics” and told him “there is no way you can vote for Raffensperger to be re-elected.”
That feeling, he said, comes from “the kind of person you are almost surprised to know the Secretary of State’s name.”
“I don’t want to say that there is no chance, but at the moment it is almost impossible to find someone in the party to support the re-election of.” [Raffensperger],” he said.
Raffensperger still has more than a year to change that. But he comes across the weight of the GOP’s election fraud orthodoxy. Earlier this week, Rep. Jody Hice, a defender of Trump’s efforts to overthrow the election, announced he was running Trump’s approval To discontinue Raffensperger. And the Georgia Republican Party isn’t exactly on the sidelines.
The State Executive Committee publicly called this week on Raffensperger to reject his employees for Misquoting Trump’s words in a December phone call in which Trump urged an election official in Georgia to find “dishonesty” in the vote in order to reverse the election result.
The party said Raffensperger had evaded “repeated attempts” by committee members to discuss the matter with him.
Raffensperger, who was closer to his home, failed to get Republicans in his own district to elect him as a delegate for his county’s upcoming Republican Party convention last weekend, said Stewart Bragg, executive director of the Georgia Republican Party. After Raffensperger wrote a letter asking for his election, no one at the district assembly moved to nominate him, Bragg said.
In a statement, Fulton County’s Republican Party leader Trey Kelly said he was unaware of any letter from Raffensperger, adding, “Like many others who were absent on Saturday, he was not placed on the delegate or alternate list for the County Convention. “A person close to Raffensperger also denied having sent a letter to vote.
Otherwise, its representatives declined to comment on the story, referring to Raffensperger’s earlier public statements.
Have the official responsibilities of Raffensperger was also targeted by Republicans in the state. On Thursday, the Republican-controlled legislature passed a bill signed by Georgian GOP Governor Brian Kemp removes the State Secretary as chairman of the State Electoral Committee – be replaced by a person approved by the state parliament.
The law transfers control of the five-member board to the state parliament: two further board members are selected by the respective legislative chambers. The law also gives the state election committee the option of suspending district electoral officials who will be replaced by a person selected by the board.
Raffensperger is not without a fan base. In fact, according to one of the most popular Republicans in Georgia Atlanta Journal January Constitution poll – even more than Kemp or Trump.
But that feat is in large part because Raffensperger is admired by the Democrats, who, after the November vote, named him a truthful electoral administration equivalent to Dr. Anthony Fauci looked at. Nearly 45 percent of Republicans in the state disapprove of Raffensperger’s performance, according to the survey.
Raffensperger has been a central point for Trump and his supporters since shortly after the presidential election. As early as November he said it was him Prepare for a Primary Challenge because of how angry some in the state can be at him.
In an election cycle where the Secretary of State Races is likely to get one almost unprecedented attentionGeorgia is possibly the most competitive. Not only does Raffensperger face a major Trump-backed antagonist, the Democrats will also fight for office in 2022, furious from the Republicans in the legislature for pushing through bills that restrict voters’ access to the elections and through the party’s successes in the US encouraged last state election.
Raffensperger has joined Republican Choirs across the country speaking out against H.R. 1, or the For the People Act, the sweeping law by Congressional Democrats that would drastically reshape most aspects of federal elections. Write a post in USA Today on Friday it said that the bill “makes ruthless demands on the Georgian electoral system”.
At the same time, Raffensperger sharply criticized the untruths surrounding the Trump-sponsored and Hice-approved 2020 elections, saying voters would punish Hice for it.
“We saw in January what Georgia voters would do with candidates who use this rhetoric,” he said in a statement shortly after Hice launched, alluding to the GOP Senate’s two drain losses. “His ruthlessness is matched by his ruthlessness as a congressman. The Republicans in Georgia who are looking for a candidate who has achieved nothing now have one. “
Hice is also not Raffensperger’s only main opponent. David Belle Isle, the former mayor of Alpharetta, whom Raffensperger handily defeated in a runoff election for the 2018 nomination, also announced that he’s back on the line.
Raffensperger’s newly acquired national profile means the outcome will reverberate well beyond Georgia, where Republican primaries are emerging as litmus tests for questions about election fraud and allegiance to Trump’s grievances.
“Raffensperger isn’t just someone who runs into a Republican elementary school,” said Sarah Longwell, founder of the Republican Accountability Project, an anti-Trump group that works to promote non-MAGA Republicans who was an electoral artist? “
The umbrella organization of which RAP is a part has promised a $ 50 million campaign back Republicans who voted to indict Trumpand a sister organization of RAP previously ran ads defending Raffensperger’s handling of an election. He said he had “conducted a” textbook election in exceptional circumstances. “
But the problem will likely play out across the country, Longwell said. “In a Republican elementary school – like the Ohio Senate Elementary School – I suspect the challengers will be MAGA or more MAGA or Mega MAGA. … you can definitely see that people will try to outdo each other by playing off the stolen elections. “
The national primary environment appears to be more favorable to Republicans who believe the election was illegal a majority of Republican voters to say that the November election was not free or fair.
Nevertheless, it is possible that in Raffensperger’s race and elsewhere, the view of the electorate will change for 2020 to 2022 – especially as more information about Trump’s electoral fraud claims emerges. Georgia Republican John Cowan said he wasn’t sure how he would vote in Raffensperger’s primary.
The secretary of state “stood up admirably against power, the guy in Tiananmen Square,” said Cowan, a neurosurgeon who ran against Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene at a 2020 elementary school and is considering running against her again next Year.
At the moment, Cowan said Raffensperger would become “a scapegoat”.
But “when the anger and passion wear off,” he said, “I think people will say,” Gosh, we just got hit. “And if we don’t want to be beaten again, we have to pull ourselves together.”