Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has been embroiled in an intra-party fight among the Georgia Republican Party that began with his and his office’s defense of the General Election where former President Donald Trump lost the state. Since November, it seems that Secretary Raffensperger and the Georgia Republican Party, mainly Chairman David Shafer, have been at odds with each other with the GAGOP blaming the SoS’ office for Trump’s underperformance while the SoS’ office is laying blame for the GAGOP’s poor campaigning that led to Democrats winning the Presidency and both US Senate seats.
The Secretary of State’s office rebutted most of the arguments from the Trump campaign regurgitated by the GAGOP, but Georgia Republicans have circled the wagons around respective camps–the GAGOP/Trump, Inc. and the Secretary of State. It seems like there are a lot more Republicans in the GAGOP/Trump, Inc. camp than in the SoS’ camp. This past week, the SoS’ office lost a good bit of credibility when the Washington Post published a retraction where it has said that, through a source, Trump pressured an elections investigator to “find the fraud” and that they would be a “national hero”. The recorded phone call said otherwise.
The Georgia Republican Party executive committee took swift action to issue a resolution condemning the SoS and basically telling him to clean house:
WHEREAS, it has been reported that the chief investigator for the Secretary of State secretly recorded a telephone conversation with President Donald J. Trump and further reported Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs mischaracterized the contents of that conversation in a series of anonymous news interviews; and
WHEREAS, the subsequent false reporting was used as “evidence” by Democratic Members of Congress in the second impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump; and
WHEREAS, persons unknown within the Office of Secretary of State attempted to destroy the secret recording which contradicted Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs’ reported mischaracterization of the contents of that call;
WHEREAS, the troubling conduct of certain members of the staff of the Secretary of State has further undermined public confidence in the integrity of this office and our elections;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the State Executive Committee of the Georgia Republican Party hereby calls on the Office of the Inspector General of State of Georgia and the appropriate legislative committees of the Georgia General Assembly to investigate the governmental personnel involved in the aforementioned actions.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the State Executive Committee of the Georgia Republican Party hereby calls on Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to issue a statement repudiating the reported aforementioned misrepresentation and attempted destruction of evidence and to relieve from power those engaged in this conduct no later than March 24, 2021.
Adopted on March 17, 2021, by the State Executive Committee
Resolutions calling for a specific action usually get ignored, but they do show the temperature for that instance in time. There’s at least enough handwringing inside the Georgia Republican Party to force the issue and #HoldOurElectedOfficialsAccountable. Of course, this is the same Georgia Republican Party who would rather sweep comments from its 2nd Vice Chairman under the rug instead of confronting him, but that’s none of my business, I guess.
If Secretary Raffensperger does decide to run for re-election, he faces at least two Republican challengers: Congressman Jody Hice (R-GA-10) and potentially 6th Congressional District Republican Chairman, and former challenger to Raffensperger, David Belle Isle. The issue is compounded by the reports floating around social media that Raffensperger was blocked from being a delegate to his county convention. Very rarely do you hear about someone attending the Precinct Mass Meetings, now Precinct Caucuses, not getting elected to participate…let alone an elected official, but here we are.
So, that brings me to the title of this piece: should Secretary Raffensperger elect to be a one-term Secretary of State? Don’t get me wrong, he has every right to run for re-election if he so chooses, and the Republican voters will make the decision whether or not he will be the nominee. However, my gut feeling is that he would have a very tough re-election bid. I’m also curious how the Georgia Republican Party would, or not, support Raffensperger if he were the Republican nominee in 2022.
Maybe it’s my lack of appetite for an elongated intra-party fight that becomes a campaign issue in the primary and general elections that leads to a Democrat being elected Secretary of State. Perhaps it’s time for Secretary Raffensperger to entertain the notion of removing this controversy from the 2022 election cycle and opt out of running for re-election. It might help in bridging the divide in the Georgia Republican Party