Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), who gained national attention while overseeing the state’s 2020 election process, which was rife with concerns about election integrity, confirmed Tuesday he is running for reelection next year.
The embattled Georgia Republican has previously indicated he plans to run but affirmed his intentions during remarks to the Gwinnett County Rotary Club Tuesday night, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
After being introduced by a local journalist as the “most famous secretary of state in the country, no, the world,” Raffensperger talked about American democracy at the event, saying, per the AJC, “I can tell you it’s very important to the very fabric of society and us as Americans. … When the time came to choose I had to make a decision. And I came down on the side of the rule of law.”
Raffensperger has faced enormous criticism from Republicans — most prominently from former President Donald Trump and his legal team and state lawmakers — in large part for his overall management of the State Election Board’s emergency voting procedures, which allowed the use of drop boxes and modifications to the absentee voting process in the 2020 election and the subsequent January 5 runoff races.
Trump repeatedly called the 2020 election “rigged” in a number of states, including in Georgia after two recounts showed President Joe Biden defeating Trump by a razor-thin margin of 12,000 votes out of five million cast, a record 1.3 million of which were absentee votes.
Raffensperger reported after the November election he had launched investigations into more than 250 cases of “credible election concerns” in 2020 and maintains that, despite Trump’s claims, he diligently worked to keep the election process secure.
Former Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), one of the two Republicans defeated in the runoffs, called for an investigation into Raffensperger last month over concerns he put “his political self-interest ahead of the people of Georgia in conducting elections,” citing several examples.
Raffensperger’s perhaps most ominous challenger, Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), who entered the secretary of state race in March with the backing of Trump, told Breitbart News in a statement he does not believe Raffensperger is competent at his job. Raffensperger, by contrast, has accused Hice of undermining faith in Georgia’s elections through his outspokenness about concerns with election integrity.
“Raffensperger continues to do what he does best…point fingers and blame others for his abysmal job performance,” Hice stated. “I am grateful we have a Republican led Georgia Legislature who took it upon themselves to start cleaning up his mess and securing our elections by passing S.B. 202.”
The high-profile S.B. 202, known as the Voter Integrity Act, was signed in to law by Gov. Brian Kemp (R) in March. The law expands early voting and requires driver’s license identification or another state-approved identification equivalent, rather than merely a signature, on absentee ballots. Voting rights activist Stacey Abrams has been a leading voice among Democrats in calling the new law an act of voter suppression, claiming the bill serves as “Jim Crow 2.0.”
Hice said he does not see Republican voters backing Raffensperger’s run for reelection, but quipped that the secretary of state “will fare exceptionally well with Stacey Abrams supporters.”
Trump, for his part, vowed to campaign against Raffensperger in January and raved about Hice when the Georgia congressman announced his bid for the position. The former president wrote in his endorsement announcement, “Unlike the current Georgia Secretary of State, Jody leads out front with integrity. I have 100% confidence in Jody to fight for Free, Fair, and Secure Elections in Georgia, in line with our beloved U.S. Constitution.”
Other contenders for the race include state Rep. Bee Nguyen (D) and former Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle (R).
Write to Ashley Oliver at email@example.com.