[guest post by Dana]
It’s mind-boggling that almost two months after the election and after the vast majority of President Trump’s baseless complaints about election fraud have been tossed by the courts, Trump is now publicly pressuring a sitting governor to resign for refusing to rescind Joe Biden’s election win. As a reminder, Georgia election officials certified that Trump lost the election by approximately 12,000 votes:
Hearings from Atlanta on the Georgia Election overturn now being broadcast. Check it out. @OANN @newsmax and many more. @BrianKempGA should resign from office. He is an obstructionist who refuses to admit that we won Georgia, BIG! Also won the other Swing States.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2020
In other words, we have the President of the United States calling on a sitting governor who was elected by the people of Georgia to resign because he is standing his ground and refusing to confirm Trump’s ongoing delusion that he won in the state of Georgia.
Trump and his allies have trained their grievances at Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), accusing the duo of mismanaging the election in Georgia. Trump’s tweet on Wednesday, however, marked the first time the president has called for Kemp to step down.
Trump has also sought to pressure Kemp and other Georgia officials to call a special session of the state General Assembly in a bid to toss out the state’s election results and appoint pro-Trump electors. That effort fell flat, however, and Georgia’s electors cast their votes for Biden on Dec. 14.
Last month, Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who are facing competitive runoff elections on Jan. 5, demanded that Raffensperger resign over his handling of the election. That demand was immediately dismissed by Raffensperger.
Unfortunately for Trump, after Raffensperger acquiesced to pressure from the President and conducted an audit of ballot signatures, the result was just more bad news for the President:
Law enforcement and election investigators didn’t find a single fraudulent absentee ballot during an audit of over 15,000 voter signatures, according to a report by the Georgia secretary of state’s office released Tuesday.
The audit contradicted allegations that absentee ballots were rife with fraud after President Donald Trump said the election had been stolen, said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Trump lost to Joe Biden by about 12,000 votes in Georgia.
There were 10 absentee ballots that had been accepted but voter signatures didn’t match or signatures were missing, according to the report. But agents from the GBI and investigators with the secretary of state’s office contacted those voters and confirmed they had submitted those ballots.
In one case, a voter’s wife signed her husband’s ballot envelope. Another voter signed the front of the envelope instead of the back. Eight voters had mismatched signatures, but the voters told investigators the signatures were legitimate.
Raffensperger, a Republican said the audit results confirmed the election outcome again after two recounts— both by hand and machine — of all 5 million ballots cast in Georgia’s presidential election.
Meanwhile, early voting has already started in the state’s Senate runoffs. Both President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-president elect Kamala Harris will be heading to Georgia to campaign for Democratic candidates on January 3 and January 4. President Trump is scheduled to hold a “big and wonderful rally” on Monday night on behalf of the Republican candidates.
It’s anybody’s guess whether the antics of the President and his latest call for Gov. Kemp to resign will help or hurt Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue Right now though, it appears to be as tight of a race as you can get:
Even with many prestigious pollsters sitting the Georgia runoffs out, there have been plenty of polls of the two U.S. Senate runoffs and they continue to show an exceptionally close race. As of Tuesday afternoon, Democrat Raphael Warnock had a nominal lead of 0.5 percentage points over Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler in the special Senate election, while Republican Sen. David Perdue had an equally slim 0.4-point lead over Democrat Jon Ossoff in the regular Senate election. We aren’t planning to make probabilistic forecasts in Georgia, but it’s safe to say that a “polls-only” view of the runoffs would put each race at about 50:50.