Georgia Republicans Worried About Trump's Message

They fear his claims of election fraud will depress GOP turnout in Senate runoffs
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2020 10:20 AM CST
Georgia Republicans Worried About Trump's Message
In this Nov. 5, 2020, photo, President Trump speaks at the White House.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

President Trump's insistence that the election was rigged appears to be having an unintended effect in Georgia: Republicans are voicing concerns that his angry supporters won't turn out to vote in next month's two runoff races for the Senate because they see it as futile. Coverage:

  • The issue: The conundrum can be summed up in this quote to the New York Times from Eric Johnson, a campaign adviser to GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who is in one of the runoffs. "You can't say the system is rigged but elect these two senators," he says. "At some point he either drops it or he says I want everybody to vote and get their friends to vote so that the margins are so large that they can't steal it."

  • Boycott? The idea of depressed GOP turnout is real. Politico reports of a growing movement among his supporters to boycott the Georgia election as a protest against perceived fraud. And over the weekend, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel visited Georgia and tried to convince one Trump supporter that the state races were not already "decided," per CNN.
  • Pushing back: The president has been bashing Gov. Brian Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, both Republicans, for not overturning the presidential vote results. But when conservative Newsmax posted a story about a possible boycott among supporters, Trump made clear he didn't want that to happen. "No, the 2020 Election was a total scam ... but we must get out and help David [Perdue] and Kelly, two GREAT people," Trump tweeted, per the Hill. Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr.'s camp just launched a super PAC to boost GOP turnout in January's votes, reports Politico.
  • New tweet: The concerns aren't causing Trump to back off, however. On Tuesday morning, he again went after Kemp on Twitter. "Do something," he wrote of the governor. "You allowed your state to be scammed. We must check signatures and count signed envelopes against ballots. Then call off election. It won't be needed. We will all WIN!"
  • Big visit: Trump visits Georgia on Saturday, and he's expected to try to convince supporters to vote next month. "I think what he says on that trip will probably matter more than what he's said up until now," said one top Republican, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, per Politico. But the Times notes that Republicans fear Trump will go off script, amplify his attacks on the state's GOP leaders, and thus blunt the message to go vote.
(Read more about the two Georgia races.)

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