Jody Hice who may be upset about being overshadowed by Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Photo: Bill Clark / CQ Appeal, Inc via Getty Imag

When a seasoned congressman in a very safe place is thinking about running for secretary of state at home – never the most powerful position in the hierarchy of statewide office – you usually think that he or she is fed up with Washington or wants to switch back to a lighter duty . But if the state in question is Georgia, the cockpit of a nationwide struggle for voting rights, it may not. And if the Congressman in question is far-right Trump loyalist Jody Hice and the incumbent Secretary of State he could challenge in a Republican elementary school in 2022, Brad Raffensperger, it makes even more sense. If Hice decides to run (which he is considering publicly and what my friends in Georgia tell me he will announce soon) it will transparently be part of Team MAGA’s efforts to clean up the man who refused to repeal efforts by the 45th President to confirm his electoral defeat in Georgia. On a more fundamental level, it will be an attempt at revenge hit by the Trump family political syndicate.

In discussing the potential campaign, Hice confirmed that Trump “supported” an offer. The four-year-old Congressman from east-central Georgia is an appropriate means of punishing Raffensperger. Hice, once known simply as the particularly flashy Christian right wing (known as the ordained minister of the Southern Baptists) who believed that Muslims should not be protected by the First Amendment, was a staunch ally of Trump in the generally trumpy ranks of House Freedom Caucus. He supported the former president’s post-election fraud claims and called Raffensperger “irresponsible” for confirming the results. He also blamed the Secretary of State for Republican losses in the January 5 Senate runoff in Georgia.

On January 6, Hice supported the challenge of the certified Pennsylvania and Georgia electoral votes (which were not voted because Senator Kelly Loeffler withdrew to give the required approval after the MAGA mob attacked the Capitol to “end the theft.” to stop”). Yes, he stepped back a little after his Instagram post that day caught the attention of calling it “our 1776 moment,” but his condemnation of the violence was mostly an excuse to try to change the subject :

As a Christian Conservative, I have always supported law enforcement and the rule of law. For months I have been shocked and angry about the rampage of the radical left through our nation’s cities – looting, riots, burning shops, targeted attacks on the police and attacks on innocent civilians, often with the support of liberal media representatives and elected democrats. I have consistently spoken out against this irresponsible and dangerous behavior. I don’t see the events of January 6th any differently from the summer riots.

If Hice is to become Trump’s tool in beating Raffensperger, he must move and shut out potential rivals. Former mayor of Alpharetta (a suburb of Atlanta), David Belle Isle, who lost to Raffensperger in a runoff election in 2018, speaks of a rematch. Another name heard is that of Vernon Jones, the former Black State Democratic legislature and CEO of DeKalb County, who was invaluable at the 2020 Republican National Convention. It is currently not easy to stand out among the warring and very noisy Republicans of Georgia.

Whoever takes on Raffensperger, it could be the undercard fight in 2022 when another pro-Trump challenger – possibly fire-eating former Congressman Doug Collins – takes on incumbent Governor Brian Kemp, another object of the former’s wrath President, who in turn was Raffy’s predecessor. Georgia Democrats are already popping popcorn and making plans.

Sign up for the Intelligencer newsletter

Daily news about politics, economics and technology that shape our world.

Terms of use and privacy policy