Georgia Republicans urged to vote in key run-offs which could decide Senate after Trump cast elections as ‘rigged’

GOP chief tells supporters to turn out for crucial vote after her party spent weeks calling elections rigged

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Saturday 28 November 2020 21:47 GMT
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel is interviewed on ABC’s ‘This Week’
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel is interviewed on ABC’s ‘This Week’
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Republicans shouted over party head Ronna McDaniel at an event in Georgia on Saturday, questioning why they should bother voting in the closely watched Senate run-offs when both the president and GOP incumbents in the race have repeatedly suggested the state’s election processes are corrupt.

“How’re we going to give money and work when it’s already decided?” one voter yelled out at the event, a Republican meet-and-greet in Marietta, Georgia.

Ms McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, insisted that the only thing that will decide the results is more turnout.

“It’s not been decided,” Ms McDaniel says. “This is the key. It’s not been decided.”

“If you lose your faith and you don’t vote and people walk away, that will decide it,” she adds.

In another exchange, a person at the event repeats a false conspiracy theory that voting machines switched votes for Mr Trump to president elect Biden, but the RNC head said she hadn’t seen evidence of that.

Any lack of faith in the process presents a huge political risk to Republicans, who could lose control of the US Senate if GOP incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler lose their run-off races. But Donald Trump, as well as both Georgia senators, have spent weeks going all-in on attacking Georgia’s election process.

Last week, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, certified the state’s presidential election results for Joe Biden, the first time Georgia has gone for a Democrat in the presidential race in nearly three decades.

This set off a wave of denunciation from Republicans, who insisted without substantial evidence the results must be fraudulent. The state is currently conducting a recount at the request of the Trump campaign. 

The president on Thursday branded Mr Raffensperger an “enemy of the people,” and vaguely accused him of cutting a “deal” with Stacey Abrams, the prominent voting rights activist who helped register hundreds of thousands of Georgia voters ahead of the 2020 election.

Senators Perdue and Loeffler also called on the Georgia secretary of state to resign. Mr Trump has said he will visit the state to campaign for the GOP candidates.

Sowing distrust in US elections is one of the president’s favourite political strategies, dating back to before the 2016 election, which he also declared “rigged.”

But ever since he lost the 2020 race, he has kicked things into overdrive, repeatedly and falsely declaring himself the rightful winner while also insisting the process was wholly corrupt and challenging election processes in lawsuits around the county,  to no meaningful success.

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