Georgia secretary of state rejects calls to step down

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) rejected calls for his resignation on Monday from GOP Georgia Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, defending his handling of the 2020 general elections as President Trump and his allies launch attacks on the voting process.

“Earlier today Senators Loeffler and Perdue called for my resignation. Let me start by saying that is not going to happen,” Raffensperger said in a statement. “The voters of Georgia hired me, and the voters will be the one to fire me.”

“As Secretary of State, I’ll continue to fight every day to ensure fair elections in Georgia, that every legal vote counts, and that illegal votes don’t count.”

Raffensperger went on to note that “emotions are running high” in the aftermath of the election, which saw President-elect Joe Biden defeat President Trump after a days-long counting process. Trump has refused to concede the race to Biden and has alleged without evidence that the election was tainted by widespread fraud and irregularities.

The latest vote tally in Georgia shows Biden leading Trump by roughly 11,600 votes. If Biden wins Georgia’s 16 electoral votes, he will become the first Democratic presidential candidate to do so since 1992. 

Perdue and Loeffler are both headed to runoff elections in January after neither managed to surpass the 50 percent threshold for an outright win in their respective races.

“Politics are involved in everything right now,” Raffensperger said. “If I was Senator Perdue, I’d be irritated I was in a runoff. And both Senators and I are all unhappy with the potential outcome for our President.”

“But I am the duly elected Secretary of State,” he continued. “One of my duties involves helping to run elections for all Georgia voters. I have taken that oath, and I will execute that duty and follow Georgia law.”

Raffensperger’s comments came after Perdue and Loeffler issued a joint statement demanding that he resign and accusing him of failing “to deliver honest and transparent elections.” They said last week’s general election had “shined a national light on the problems” in the state.

“The mismanagement and lack of transparency from the Secretary of State is unacceptable,” Perdue and Loeffler said. “Honest elections are paramount to the foundation of our democracy. The Secretary of State has failed to deliver honest and transparent elections. He has failed the people of Georgia, and he should step down immediately.”

The statement from Perdue and Loeffler did not point to any specific allegations of fraud, nor did it provide evidence of such claims. 

A spokesman for Gov. Brian Kemp (R) said in a statement that last week’s vote “needs to be a wake up call to the Secretary of State’s office to take a serious look at any and all voting irregularity allegations.”

Raffensperger defended his handling of the general elections on Monday, calling them a “resounding success.” He said that his office has dispatched investigators to look into specific allegations of illegal voting and has also placed a monitor in Fulton County, which he called “one of our longtime problem Democrat-run counties.”

But even if officials uncover cases of illegal voting, he said, it would be unlikely to sway the outcome of the presidential race. 

“Was there illegal voting? I am sure there was,” Raffensperger said. “And my office is investigating all of it. Does it rise to the numbers or margin necessary to change the outcome to where President Trump is given Georgia’s electoral votes? That is unlikely.”

—Updated at 5:30 p.m.

Tags 2020 election 2020 elections 2020 Senate races Brad Raffensperger Brian Kemp David Perdue Donald Trump Election results Georgia Georgia politics Joe Biden Kelly Loeffler Recount secretary of State

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