Incumbent Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has declared victory in Georgia’s Republican primary, offering a rebuke of false fraud claims and defeating Trump-backed Jody Hice with about 51% of the vote as of 11:30 p.m.
The race has not yet been called by The Associated Press, but Raffensperger expressed confidence his margin would hold.
Raffensperger faced an onslaught of attacks from Trump and other top Republicans for certifying the 2020 election and pushing back on misinformation, including an unprecedented call from former President Donald Trump to “find” enough votes to overturn the election.
Hice ran a campaign based on the premise that the 2020 election should not have been certified and that Raffensperger allowed fraudulent ballots and practices to mar the presidential results.
Three separate counts of the totals said otherwise.
Raffensperger has pushed back against those claims and blamed people like Hice for GOP election defeats.
“Jody Hice has just not been honest for the last 18 months, and he’s been spreading misinformation, disinformation,” Raffensperger said in a recent primary debate. “That’s what destroys voter confidence. Every allegation, I checked out. I ran it down to the end of the line, because that’s what engineers do. We’ve got to make sure we had the facts — and we had the facts.”
Written off by many pundits and election watchers after Hice’s entry into the race, Raffensperger shored up his campaign with a focus on banning non-citizen voting (though it’s already against Georgia law) and attacking Democrats like gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and President Joe Biden’s stances on voting rights.
The secretary of state’s campaign was also likely boosted by record early voting turnout and a sizable number of voters who previously voted in Democratic primaries but pulled Republican ballots this time.
Hice has been one of the biggest promoters of Trump’s election lies, and is one of only a few candidates the former president endorsed who gained traction with primary voters.
This story comes to Reporter/Atlanta Intown through a reporting partnership with GPB News, a non-profit newsroom covering the state of Georgia.