Georgia Secretary of State Brad Riffensperger, who thwarted Donald Trump’s attempts to steal the 2020 state election, won his Republican primary on Tuesday night, in an outright rebuke to the former president, who sought to oust him last year. Spent trying.
NBC, Nation World News and other major networks speculated Wednesday morning that Riffensperger had defeated Rep. Jody Hiss, a conservative House member who twice voted against certification of the 2020 election results in Congress and in secretary of state’s race. Trump, and two other candidates.
With over 95% of ballots counted, Raffensperger won about 52% of the vote, enough to exceed the majority threshold needed to avoid a runoff.
He will run for a general election in which Democrats who praised his efforts to thwart Trump will hope to oust a Republican who is still criticized for supporting new laws that restrict voting rights. and give Georgia’s GOP-controlled legislature more partisan power over state elections.
Raffensperger’s refusal to “find” nearly 12,000 non-existent votes to convert President Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia into a Trump victory made him the main target of the former president’s Make America Great Again movement within Georgia. Hiss launched his primary bid in the wake of the January 6 uprising at the US Capitol, alleging that Riffensperger had “compromised” the Georgia election, and immediately received Trump’s blessing.
Trump has held several rallies in Georgia last year, appearing with Hiss and other candidates he endorsed in statewide primary challenges to Georgia incumbents, including former Sen. David Perdue, who led GOP Gov. Brian Kemp and John Gordon. Those who had fled. Against Attorney General Chris Carr.
Early in the race, many Georgia Republicans considered Riffensperger particularly vulnerable to a primary fight, especially from such a close ally of Trump. Hiss was a tireless advocate of the lie that the Georgia election was riddled with fraud and plagiarized from the president, despite numerous reviews, audits and investigations finding no evidence to back those claims.
On the morning of January 6, 2021, Hiss tweeted that the GOP congressional efforts to reverse the election in Congress were a “1776 moment” for the country. He also participated in strategic discussions about pressuring then-Vice President Mike Pence to toss out legitimate electoral college votes during the congressional certification process. He eventually voted to contest the election results twice on January 6, and was among 147 Republicans who challenged the results even after a riotous crowd of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol that day.
Democrats and democracy experts see the GOP’s primary secretary of state as an important battle for the future of US elections, and its democracy as a whole, noting that a His victory would prevent him from becoming the top election official in a significant swing. Will take a step away. States before the 2024 presidential election.
But unlike other election denials that won the recent Republican primary, the uproar in Georgia fell short, Where voters ultimately rejected all three Trump-backed candidates running against GOP office bearers, who helped thwart the former president’s efforts to reverse his electoral losses in the state. The losses suggest that at least in Georgia, Trump’s “big lie” about the 2020 election is not powerful enough to defeat a trio of candidates who have consistently denied it.
Hiss won the county in the 10th Congressional District of Georgia, which he has represented since 2015. But they were demolished in nearly every other part of the state, and especially within the Atlanta metro area, where Raffensperger scored a huge margin that pushed them past 50. % limit required to avoid runoff.
Raffensperger on Tuesday could benefit from Georgia’s open primary system: During early voting, an estimated 7% of ballots in this year’s GOP race were submitted by Georgians, according to an analysis by Atlanta. Participated in the Democratic primary. Journal-Constitution. At least some of those voters appeared motivated to thwart Hiss and other Trump-backed candidates, but said they would support Democrats again in the fall.
“Democrats who want to send a clear message to David Perdue and Donald Trump are voting against all support for Trump,” Larry Weiner, a Democrat who voted in the GOP primary, told the Journal-Constitution. “Come November, we vote for the Democrats.”
He may also prevail because of his inherent advantages as an incumbent, and because more attention has been paid to other primaries: a pre-election poll found that support for Hiss rose sharply – from 30% to 60. % – once voters knew he had Trump’s support, suggesting he could have won if he had been able to improve his name recognition among Georgia voters ahead of Tuesday’s vote.
The defeat may be a significant one for Trump’s MAGA movement, but it won’t eliminate the threats Republicans present to the country’s electoral system: candidates like Haigh who contested or questioned the 2020 election results could Secretary of State is pursuing the posts. Other major battlefield states, including Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota and Nevada, where GOP primaries have not yet been held.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano won the Republican gubernatorial primary in his state last week. Maastriano, who tried to undermine Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania, provoked supporters in Washington on January 6 and was present in a protest that turned into a rebellion that afternoon, a key swing before the 2024 election would assume control of the state. , should he win in November. He would also have the power to appoint a similar election-denial conspiracy theorist as Pennsylvania’s secretary of state.
Despite his rebuke of Trump in 2020, Raiffensperger will likely face an uphill reelection battle against the one who emerges from a crowded Democratic primary in November.
Georgia Democrats are eager to repeat their success from two years ago, when Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate since 1992 to win the state and Sens. Raphael Warnock (D) and John Osoff (D) won a pair of runoff competitions.
With Warnock and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams at the top of the ticket, Democrats believe they have a shot at kicking Republicans out of key statewide offices, and they have sought to protect and expand voting rights after Georgia. The Secretary of State has paid attention to the race as a method. The GOP-controlled legislature passed a sweeping new election law that restricted ballot access in 2021 and created new election-related offenses.
Raffensperger, who supported prior efforts to impose new restrictions on voting in Georgia before 2020, also supported SB 202, as the new law was known. And he has defended it with claims that it will disproportionately affect black voters, disabled Georgians and other minority communities that helped lead to a Democratic victory in 2020.
Democrats see that law, one of more than 30 restrictive laws passed nationwide last year, as an extension of false fraud claims Trump and his allies have made about the last election, and pushing Democratic candidates above and beyond. The ballot below has vowed to defeat the Republicans who support it.
Riffensperger has also denied a full-fledged separation from Trump, despite the fact that the former president had received death threats against his family and other election officials across the state. In an interview with HuffPost last year, Raiffensperger did not answer questions about whether he would vote for Trump if he ran for president again in 2024.
And although the national environment appears bleak for Democrats, party voters in Georgia seem motivated: They turned out in high numbers to vote early ahead of Tuesday’s primary, even though the top two races on the party’s ticket were uncontested.
Voting rights were an animating factor for voters who spoke to HuffPost outside Atlanta’s polling complex last week, many of whom were determined to overcome the odds posed to SB 202 — and defeat Republicans. , Raffensperger, who helped build them.