Former Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerPerdue to challenge Kemp in Georgia governor primary: report Senate GOP worries Trump could derail bid for majority Perdue mulling primary challenge against Kemp in Georgia: report MORE (R-Ga.) is calling on Georgia’s top law enforcement official to investigate Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) for his handling of the 2020 election.
Loeffler sent a letter on Wednesday to state Attorney General Chris Carr requesting a probe into whether Raffensperger used his office to advance his personal political interests during the 2020 election cycle, alleging that he “politicized and minimized voters’ legitimate concerns about changes to Georgia’s elections” that came about in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This request is not about the outcome of an election, but about the loss of confidence in our elections and the importance of holding elected officials accountable for upholding the law and carrying out their constitutional duties,” Loeffler wrote.
“If voters don’t trust the electoral process and their elected officials, we risk sustained damage to voter participation in our state,” she added.
The letter lays out a slew of allegations against Raffensperger, including that he failed to adequately address absentee voting and other procedural issues in Georgia’s widely panned 2020 primary elections. The letter also faults Raffensperger for recording a January phone call with former President TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection MORE, during which Trump sought to pressure him to “find” enough votes to reverse President BidenJoe BidenHouse passes 8B defense policy bill House approves bill to ease passage of debt limit hike Senate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale MORE’s victory in the state.
Other charges listed in the letter include that Raffensperger entered into a consent decree that changed the signature verification process for absentee balloting without informing the Republican-led state legislature. That claim echoes one made in a lawsuit filed last year by pro-Trump attorney Lin Wood.
Raffensperger’s office has claimed that the consent decree did not significantly alter the signature review process, and that it therefore did not require the approval of the state general assembly. Carr himself was the one who signed the settlement agreement for the state.
“Georgians deserve answers regarding these issues and to understand the impact these and other matters may have on future elections,” Loeffler wrote in her letter. “Failure to acknowledge these issues and irregularities will lead to a continued loss of trust in our elections.”
Carr’s office declined Loeffler’s request on Wednesday, saying that, as the lawyer for Georgia’s executive branch, the attorney general cannot investigate its own client.
“Under the Georgia Constitution, the Department of Law is the lawyer Executive Branch of government – which includes the Secretary of State’s Office,” a spokesperson for the Attorney General's Office said in a statement. “As such, we cannot investigate our own client on these particular matters. We’ve forwarded the letter to our client for their review and appropriate response.”
Loeffler’s letter echoes many of the complaints and allegations leveled against the Georgia secretary of state and other top election officials by Trump and his allies.
Trump has singled out Raffensperger, in particular, for rejecting his pleas to reverse his electoral loss in Georgia. Trump has pledged to campaign against Raffensperger next year, and has already endorsed one of his primary challengers, Rep. Jody HiceJody Brownlow HiceA woke military is no defense at all — why Defense bill in current form must not pass Gosar faces increasing odds of censure on House floor Cheney, Kinzinger signal they'd back Gosar censure MORE (R-Ga.).
Nearly six months after Election Day, Trump and his allies have continued to claim that the presidential election results in Georgia and other battleground states where he lost were marred by widespread voter fraud, systemic irregularities and malfeasance on the part of election officials.
Loeffler lost her Senate seat in January in a runoff election against Sen. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockTrump endorses David Perdue in Georgia's governor race Perdue announces bid for Georgia governor, setting up primary against Kemp Perdue to challenge Kemp in Georgia governor primary: report MORE (D-Ga.).
She is now running a group focused on GOP voter registration efforts, and is considering a rematch against Warnock in next year’s midterm elections.
Loeffler broke with Trump after the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, dropping her previous plans to challenge the results of the 2020 election and voting instead to certify the Electoral College vote.
Still, she will almost certainly need the support of Trump’s loyal base of voters if she hopes to compete for the GOP nomination in next year’s Senate contest.
Raffensperger dismissed Loeffler’s request for an investigation on Wednesday, calling the allegations in her letter “laughable” and blaming her loss in the January Senate runoff on her own political shortcomings.
“Kelly Loeffler’s failure to convince anyone she actually was a Trump supporter is the reason Georgia doesn’t have a Republican Senator or the United States a Republican Senate,” Raffensperger said in a statement. “The letter and the allegations in it are laughable.”
--Updated at 2:37 p.m.