Many Republican voters in Georgia are outraged. They are convinced that massive election fraud – unfounded allegations – cost President Donald Trump the election for Democrat Joe Biden.
But will these concerns put them on the sidelines in the January 5th run-off election that will determine the party’s control of the US Senate? It’s impossible, said Lori Davis, Trump’s advocate.
“Everyone around me, we’re ready to vote now,” said the 57-year-old businesswoman, as she awaited the arrival of Vice President Mike Pence, at a rally of Republican Senators David Purdue and Kelly Loeffler in Augusta. Thursday
Trump relentlessly promoted false allegations that the election was rigged against him, and attacked Republican elected officials whom he viewed as standing in the way of his quest to sabotage the results. Some of Trump’s allies have gone so far as to call on voters to skip the Georgia run-off altogether – troubling words for the turnout Republican campaigns.
But interviews with voters and party activists in the state indicate that there are few indications that Trump voters are planning to stay home in protest. Most of the Republican voters interviewed said they were willing to put their doubts aside to vote for Purdue and Loeffler in their races against Democrats John Usoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively.
There are people who are frustrated that (Trump) has lost or left Georgia. Tim Phillips, president of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, which polled Republican-leaning voters, said, but I haven’t spoken to the people who said, “Oh, that’s right, it’s been rigged anyway.
Phillips was among those who worried that mistrust could affect Republican enthusiasm. But he said his group weeks in the field, along with a recent visit from Trump, alleviated his concerns.
Trump’s December 5 campaign in Valdosta, Georgia, was his first since losing the state to Biden by nearly 11,700 votes – a result confirmed by two recounts, including a hand count of all votes. But these accounts did not stop the president from criticizing Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Ravensberger.
Kemp rejected Trump’s call for a special session of the legislature to undermine the election results, while Ravensberger repeatedly said there was no evidence of fraud or systematic irregularities in the November elections.
Trump’s allies continued to push false allegations of fraud.
Sydney Powell, who was removed from Trump’s legal team last month, has teamed up with Georgia attorney Lyn Wood, who is known for having represented several high-profile clients, particularly in defamation cases. Lawyers have repeatedly encouraged Republicans in Georgia not to vote in the runoff and have questioned whether Purdue and Loeffler adequately supported Trump’s efforts.
Why would you go back and vote in another rigged election? Wood said during a recent rally in a northern Atlanta suburb.
Trump asked his supporters to come out and vote. “The seats are the last line of defense to save America and protect all that we have accomplished,” he said at the recent Georgia event. During the rally, Trump has been switching between pressuring his complaints about the election and encouraging the crowd out for Purdue and Lovler.
“You know a lot of people, my friends, they say, ‘Let’s not vote. Trump told the audience, “We will not vote because we are angry at the presidential election.
“But if I do that, the radical left wins,” he said.
Phillips said he believes the message is reaching the conservative base far more than any separate calls for a boycott or even the president’s criticisms against Kemp and Ravensburger.
“These are not people taking their cues from CNN or the traditional political media. They listen directly to the president. And Phillips said they are open to his message and ours not to let (Democratic Senate Leader) Chuck Schumer finish the job.”
Republicans count on voters like Terry McCreary, the 65-year-old retiree in Cherokee County. McCreary calls himself an “independent conservative,” but he’s voted almost exclusively for Republicans since his presidential vote for Democrat Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
McCreary says he finds it “hard to believe” Biden’s victory in a fair election. McCreary cites many of the misleading theories and rebuttal that Trump and his allies have pushed in recent weeks.
“He’s not feeling well,” he said from his home in the suburbs of Atlanta.
But McCreary said none of that would stop him from voting in the run-offs. He said, “I am concerned that the January 5th elections” will be legitimate. “But I always vote. Every time.”
Purdue and Loeffler tried to appease Trump and his supporters by supporting a lawsuit from Texas that sought to overturn Biden’s victory but was rejected by the US Supreme Court.