Alyssa Pointer for NPR
Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who refused former President Donald Trump’s pleas to ‘find’ enough votes to overturn his defeat in the state in the 2020 presidential election, easily defeated a challenger backed by Trump, according to a call for the race by The Associated Press.
Republican Raffensperger edged out U.S. Representative Jody Hice and two other opponents in a GOP primary that many political observers believe is heading for a runoff, with no candidate reaching the 50% threshold to win outright.
But at the time of the AP’s race call, Raffensperger had passed that mark, with about 52% of the vote, marking a rejection of Trump’s efforts to boost Hice.
Primaries for secretary of state are often sleepy campaigns. But this Georgian contest took on outsized political significance after Raffensperger rejected Trump’s request to void the election.
The former president now faces a criminal investigation in Georgia for those efforts.
Hice, who won Trump’s endorsement, argued against the 2020 election results at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, just hours after being mobbed by a violent pro-Trump crowd. And he pushed baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud throughout the secretary of state’s campaign.
Raffensperger defended his actions following the 2020 election, saying his office investigated all allegations of wrongdoing. And while praising Georgia’s controversial 2021 election law that added new restrictions to the voting process, he also called for a constitutional amendment to bar noncitizens from voting — something already prohibited by Georgia law. ‘State.
Hice was one of many candidates who deny the results of the 2020 presidential election and sought to oversee voting in their states – a trend that has alarmed election experts and heightened the importance of such contests.
Trump has endorsed three such nominees for secretary of state who falsely claim the 2020 election was stolen, including Hice and Kristina Karamo, who recently won support from Republicans in Michigan.
Raffensperger’s Democratic opponent is not yet known. State Rep. Bee Nguyen appears to be heading for a runoff with another candidate after securing a clear plurality of votes.