Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) announced he'll run in a primary against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who Donald Trump blames for his Peach State loss.
Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) on Monday announced he is launching a primary challenge to Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, accusing Raffensperger of mishandling the 2020 election in Georgia that Donald Trump lost.
"Free and fair elections are the foundation of our country," Hice said in a statement announcing his candidacy, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "What Brad Raffensperger did was create cracks in the integrity of our elections, which I wholeheartedly believe individuals took advantage of in 2020."
Raffensperger has long maintained that Georgia's elections ran smoothly and without fraud — assertions backed up by multiple recounts, as well as by the Justice Department and the U.S. intelligence community.
Raffensperger stood his ground when Trump personally called him after the election to demand that Raffensperger "find" 11,780 votes — the exact number of ballots Trump would need to win the state. It's a call Trump is now under criminal investigation for.
Now, Trump and his allies like Hice are trying to drum Raffensperger out of office because he refused to steal the election.
Trump quickly endorsed Hice's bid, saying in a statement on Monday morning, "Unlike the current Georgia Secretary of State, Jody leads out front with integrity."
"I have 100% confidence in Jody to fight for Free, Fair, and Secure Elections in Georgia, in line with our beloved U.S. Constitution," Trump said in the statement, capitalization his. "Jody will stop the Fraud and get honesty into our Elections!"
Hice, for his part, is one of the House Republicans who organized the effort to overturn President Joe Biden's victory with a challenge against certifying Biden's Electoral College victory.
He is one of the dozens of Republican lawmakers who lied about voter fraud and used violent rhetoric ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, which left five people dead. Hice hyped the "stop the steal" movement — which drew the insurrectionists to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6. And he wrote in a now-deleted Instagram that this is our "1776 moment" — the kind of violent rhetoric that helped incite the pro-Trump mob to attack the Capitol.
Hice ultimately voted against certifying President Joe Biden's victory even after the deadly insurrection at the Capitol and even objected to the certification of Biden's victory in Georgia — though now-former Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler did not agree to hear that challenge, killing it before it began.
If Hice becomes Georgia's secretary of state, he'd be in charge of running the Peach State's elections. Had someone like Hice been in office in 2020, it's unclear whether he would've followed Trump's demand to overturn the state's results.
Yet even without someone like Hice running elections, Georgia Republicans are already trying to make it harder to vote in the state by restricting access to absentee ballots, adding voter ID hurdles to voting by mail, and trying to make it harder to vote by limiting ballot drop boxes and cutting days to vote early.
It's an effort voting rights advocates have compared to the racist Jim Crow laws that sought to keep Black people from voting.
"I think it's unfortunate that some politicians have looked at the results and, rather than changing their message, they're busy trying to change the rules," Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.