Who’s Brad Raffensperger, Georgia Republican Secretary of State?


Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is being dragged into another thorny political affair, the latest in a string of headline-grabbing incidents for an official whose day-to-day duties usually make the position obscure.

The Republican, who serves as Georgia’s top election official on Friday, accepted a state judge’s recommendation that Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene should not be disqualified for her role in the Jan. 6 uprising. Raffensperger officially ruled that Greene will remain on the ballot, although anti-Greene challengers have promised to appeal.

Raffensperger, 66, is probably best known for rejecting then-President Donald Trump’s push in a bombshell call to “find” votes in Trump’s favor, which are needed to overturn the results of Georgia’s 2020 presidential election . During the Jan. 2, 2021 call, Trump berated his fellow Republican for refusing to falsely say he won the Georgia election and repeated baseless allegations of voter fraud.

“The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry. And there’s nothing wrong with saying that, you know, um, you recalculated,” Trump said in part of the call. Raffensperger replied, “Well, Mister President, the challenge you have is that the data you have is wrong.”

Raffensperger has continued to defend his performance and remains committed to the idea that the election was conducted fairly, warning those who, without evidence, had accused otherwise.

It was one of the strongest public commitments to electoral integrity made by a Republican under immense pressure from Trump and his supporters — and it wasn’t without repercussions.

“You and your family are being killed very slowly,” read an anonymous text given to Raffensperger’s wife Tricia in an exclusive interview with Reuters last year, an example of the type of threats and scrutiny his family has faced. Brad Raffensperger told CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront at the time that the threats were unacceptable.

“This is unacceptable behavior to threaten the wives, the children, the families of people who work for the government, or even the government employees,” he said. “You didn’t sign up for this.”

Raffensperger has become something of a pariah within the GOP, facing calls for his resignation from his own party and criticism at the GOP convention in Georgia in 2021 for “violating his constitutional duty.”

“Let me start by saying that’s not going to happen. Georgia voters hired me, and voters will be the ones who fire me,” he said at the time in response to calls for his resignation.

“As Foreign Minister, I will continue to fight every day to ensure that there are fair elections in Georgia, that every legal vote counts and that illegal votes do not count,” Raffensperger continued.

Raffensperger, who poses as a conservative Republican, took office in 2019. He served two terms in the Georgia General Assembly from 2015 to 2019.

Raffensperger earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Western University and has a master’s of business administration degree from Georgia State University, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s website.

A campaign website describes him as a structural engineer and founder of a steel company called Tendon Systems. “As the CEO of a thriving corporation, Brad uses business principles to run the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, including the purchase and deployment of modern voting machines across the state that can be audited and verified, including a full manual recount when necessary,” it said on the website.

Brad and Tricia Raffensperger have been married for more than 45 years, according to his campaign website. The couple have three sons.

Raffensperger’s term is due to end next year and the foreign secretary is running for re-election while facing three opponents in the primary field ahead of the election later this month. His leading opponent, Republican Rep. Jody Hice, has aligned himself with Trump’s political brand, previously saying Trump would have won the 2020 Georgia election had it been “fair” — a stance supported by the former president.

In a primary area where his Republican opponents are committed to fighting voter fraud — despite the fact that such fraud hardly exists and President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the Peach State was confirmed by three ballots — Raffensperger has his commitment expressed for the same topic.

On Monday, after Hice falsely accused Raffensperger of “ballot collection” — generally the phrase refers to the practice of organizations or activists collecting voters’ completed mail-in ballots and submitting them for counting, rather than voters sending in their ballots themselves or family members get members or friends to submit them — Raffensperger said Hice “just hasn’t been honest for the past 18 months, and he’s been spreading misinformation, disinformation.”

To further emphasize this point, Raffensperger’s campaign website touts him as the “first to ban ballot picking” in Georgia.

Raffensperger has also backed a controversial law passed after Biden’s victory to impose new voting rights restrictions.

In an interview last year on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” Raffensperger said that while elections are conducted “fairly, honestly, and accurately,” the law restricts the use of ballot boxes and makes it a crime to address voters on the line, to give them food and water, it was about addressing voters’ trust in the electoral systems.

“Ultimately, voting in the state of Georgia has never been easier and we still have access. We certainly made up for that,” he said.