Jody Hice, a Republican congressman, introduced Monday a run towards the Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, who refused to overturn the state’s Nov. 3 election outcomes, and former President Donald J. Trump instantly endorsed the brand new candidate.
Mr. Trump’s endorsement of Mr. Hice is probably the most outstanding effort the previous president and his aides have made to attempt to punish elected officers who they imagine crossed Mr. Trump. Mr. Raffensperger, a Republican, is among the many high targets for Mr. Trump, together with the state’s governor, Brian Kemp.
In an announcement issued shortly after Mr. Hice introduced his candidacy, Mr. Trump praised him as “one of our most outstanding congressmen,” and alluded to his personal baseless claims of voter fraud, which he has stated disadvantaged him of victory in the state. “Unlike the current Georgia Secretary of State, Jody leads out front with integrity,’’ Mr. Trump said, adding “Jody will stop the Fraud and get honesty into our Elections!’’
Mr. Raffensperger and other Georgia election officials certified President Biden’s victory after conducting several recounts, and have said the results are fair and accurate.
Mr. Hice, who represents Georgia’s 10th congressional district, stretching south and east from Atlanta, is a Trump loyalist who in January condemned the second House impeachment of the former president as “misguided” and geared toward “scoring cheap political points.” In the weeks after the November election, he supported Mr. Trump’s false claims of election fraud, together with a challenge before the Supreme Court that sought to overturn the results in states Mr. Trump lost.
Mr. Hice additionally served in the House Freedom Caucus with former Rep. Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s fourth and final chief of employees.
As he seeks to retain management of the Republican Party, Mr. Trump is set to stay a kingmaker for down-ballot elections, whereas in search of retribution towards these he perceives as having betrayed him. So far, he has endorsed just one different candidate operating towards somebody he feels personally aggrieved by: Max Miller, a former White House aide, who’s presently difficult Representative Anthony Gonzalez, a Republican representing Ohio’s sixth congressional district. Mr. Gonzalez was one in all 10 House members who voted for Mr. Trump’s impeachment.
Mr. Hice’s problem — towards a Trump nemesis in a crucial swing state — shall be a extra high-profile check of Mr. Trump’s political clout amongst Republicans.
The transfer to again Mr. Hice towards the sitting secretary of state can be extraordinary on condition that Mr. Raffensperger has confirmed his workplace is investigating Mr. Trump’s makes an attempt to affect the election, together with the cellphone name the previous president made to him. Mr. Trump can be beneath investigation by Fulton County prosecutors into whether or not he and others tried to improperly affect the election.
Mr. Raffensperger was on the receiving finish of a now-infamous name in early January, in which Mr. Trump pushed baseless claims of widespread irregularities and requested the secretary of state to “find’’ enough votes to reverse the win for President Biden.
“All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state,” Mr. Trump stated through the name.
Mr. Raffensperger repeatedly advised him his information was improper. “We have to stand by our numbers,” Mr. Raffensperger stated. “We believe our numbers are right.”
Mr. Trump, when he had a Twitter feed, repeatedly attacked Mr. Raffensperger for not acceding to his calls for.