The big headline from Wednesday’s presidential debate was Republican candidate Donald Trump’s unwillingness to say whether he would accept the results of the November 8th election. After being asked a direct question by moderator Chris Wallace, Trump answered, “I’ll keep you in suspense.” As could be expected, Trump’s response drew strong reactions from Georgia officials on both sides of the aisle. As reported by Greg Bluestein of the AJC, Atlanta Mayor and Clinton surrogate Kasim Reed said,
Donald Trump is just going through the stages of denial. He’s going to lose and he’s coming to grips with the fact he’s going to lose,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said in an interview. “I don’t think any of his (supporters) can predict, plan or expect what he’s going to do. But he’s already done so (much) damage to our democracy that folks view this as a very bad chapter that needs to end.
House Speaker David Ralston, via his spokesman Kaleb McMichen, said,
Free and fair elections are a defining characteristic of our country and Americans can be confident in the sanctity of the voting booth. Thousands of dedicated professionals and volunteers work to secure our electoral process each time ballots are cast. On Election Day, our country will begin yet another peaceful transfer of poser — no matter the outcome.
Trump has tweeted his suspicions that there could be outright voter fraud in the election, and has also expressed his concerns in his speeches and rallies. When he talks about the election being rigged, however, there is some confusion over whether he is referencing the possibility of fraud, or whether he is talking about what he views as media bias in favor of his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Meanwhile, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp had already begun to push back on Trump’s claims of a possible rigged election, telling the AJC, “As Georgia’s chief elections official,” he added, “I have worked tirelessly to ensure Georgians have safe, accessible, and fair elections in our state.” Today, he is quoted in the AJC as saying, “At the end of the day, I believe the American people and Donald Trump will stand by the results of the election after the process has been completed and that we will have a peaceful transition of power.”