But Trump has no choice but to try to create an imperfect enemy if he is to attack the election results in Georgia. It’s an all-Republican-run state, and Raffensperger is the Republican in charge of the elections.
Learn more about the Republican standing in the way of Trump’s remarkable attempt to change the will of voters in one of the key states of the 2020 presidential election.
In a phone call on Jan. 2, President Trump insisted on winning the state and threatened vague legal ramifications. Here are excerpts from the call. (Received from the Washington Post)
Raffensperger made a name for himself as a candidate for Secretary of State during the Georgia Governor’s race in 2018. The then Secretary of State, Republican Brian Kemp, ran for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams. She narrowly lost, accusing Kemp of using his role as state secretary to disenfranchise democratic voters.
Raffensperger ran this year to take Kemp’s place as top election officer. He was and was for Kemp’s questionable maneuver to clean up voter lists (where people have to re-register in order to vote) and for tough voter identification laws. As the Fix’s Aaron Blake sums up, Raffensperger exempted around 4 percent of Georgian voters from voter registration in 2019, a move that critics have labeled undemocratic. He also criticized the postal vote before the pandemic; Like many Republicans, he argued it opened the door to fraud.
His next high profile moment on the job was in June during the Georgian President’s primaries. These were among the first major primaries in the pandemic, and they didn’t do well. There were long queues, especially in democratic communities in and around Atlanta, and poll workers struggled with new voting machines. Voting advocates said Georgia election officials were insufficiently prepared for the surge in postal votes. Abrams blamed Raffensperger directly for “inaction, poor planning and terrible execution”. Raffensperger said a lot of the problems were the fault of the Democratic district officials.
Before serving as Secretary of State, Raffensperger was a councilor outside of Atlanta. He is a multimillionaire businessman and trained engineer.
He’s a Trump supporter. At least he was before it all. Trump supported him in his state secretary. Raffensperger said he voted for the president and wanted him to win Georgia.
In the week after the election, Georgia was still counting votes, and pressure from Trump and his allies was mounting on the Secretary of State. Raffensperger said to Reis Thebault and Amy Gardner of the Washington Post at the time, “If people want to understand what I am doing, I am only doing what the law says. We just do it. Do I Hope President Trump Wins? Yes, I definitely do. I am a republican. But I can’t put my thumb on the scale of the process. “
Raffensperger has denounced neither Trump nor the Republican Party. But the more Trump increases the pressure on him, the sharper Raffensperger’s criticism of the president’s efforts becomes.
No love is lost between him and the two Republican Senators from Georgia. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler were once allies and were among the first Georgia Republicans to turn on Raffensperger after it became clear that Trump had lost the state.
They asked Raffensperger to resign, but did not provide any concrete evidence as to why. Raffensperger’s answer was biting: “If I were Senator Perdue, I would be irritated if I were in a runoff election.” The drama has worried some Republican strategists that the party will be the least united when its most urgent is to win Tuesday’s runoff election in two races that will determine which party controls the Senate.
He’s out with Republicans who have tried to pressure him to change the results. In November, The Post’s Raffensperger Gardner announced that Senator Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.) had called him and asked if he could throw thousands of ballot papers in the mail based on unfounded concerns about whether electoral officials were properly signing voters would have confirmed. Graham explicitly denied asking Raffensperger to throw legal ballots away, but Raffensperger insisted: “It sure looked like he wanted to go that route,” he said.
He and his family have received death threats: “You’d better not botch this recount. Your life depends on it. “This is a text he shared with The Post. His office said his wife had received threats describing it as “sexualized”. Someone broke into one of his adult children’s homes.
As he led the election, Raffensperger confirmed a security detail after three points confirmed former Vice President Joe Biden’s narrow victory in the state.
He has also defended election officials in his state, saying they are keen to accurately count the results and are not part of a state conspiracy to swing the election for Biden.
He has become one of the most forceful voices against Trump and his Republican allies’ attempts to overthrow the elections. Raffensperger has resisted widespread allegations that the elections he chaired were somehow fraudulent.
But he has also used his authority as Secretary of State to directly confront conspiracy theories that voting machines were rigged or ballot papers were not properly approved in the mail. He conducted three recounts – one by hand. This is the surest way to confirm that machines and people have correctly counted the ballots. And he agreed to one of Trump’s requests to check the signatures on the outside of the voter envelopes to confirm that they match the signature the state put on that voter. Each time they found no evidence of widespread fraud – as he told the president on that phone call.
“President Trump,” he said in this appeal on Saturday, “we had several lawsuits and we had to respond to the lawsuits and the disputes in court.” We disagree that you won. “
“This is what it looks like when your party loses: scapegoat, point your finger,” he told the Post in a statement emailed in December.
In December, he gave the green light to a senior GOP election official who told him to hold a press conference and speak directly to Trump and tell him to stop making people believe Georgia’s election is fraudulent: ” Someone gets hurt, “he said an angry Gabriel Sterling who manages the voting systems for Raffensperger. “Someone is shot. Someone is killed. “
Raffensperger said on Monday of the leaked call that Trump first betrayed confidence in the conversation. “For me it was a private conversation,” Raffensperger told an Atlanta reporter in an interview. “He violated privacy when he posted a tweet, but then his tweet was wrong.”
On Monday, Sterling and Raffensperger held a press conference at which they specifically denied allegations of electoral fraud, including one the President vaguely phrased in the appeal: “This is all easily demonstrably wrong,” said Sterling, “and yet the President remains.”