GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue called on Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, to resign over the state’s “many failures” throughout the 2020 election season.
Loeffler and Perdue issued a joint statement on Monday calling for Raffensperger’s resignation, adding their names to a growing list of Republican and Democratic politicians gunning for the secretary of state.
“The management of Georgia elections has become an embarrassment for our state. Georgians are outraged, and rightly so. We have been clear from the beginning: every legal vote cast should be counted. Any illegal vote must not. And there must be transparency and uniformity in the counting process. This isn’t hard. This isn’t partisan. This is American,” the senators said.
“While blame certainly lies elsewhere as well, the buck ultimately stops with the Secretary of State. The mismanagement and lack of transparency from the Secretary of State is unacceptable. Honest elections are paramount to the foundations of our democracy,” the senators continued. “The Secretary of State has failed to deliver honest and transparent elections. He has failed the people of Georgia, and he should step down immediately.”
Raffensperger hit back at the senators, defending his record and accusing Loeffler and Perdue, who are both facing runoff elections since neither is likely to clear 50% of the vote, of playing politics.
“Let me start by saying that is not going to happen. The voters of Georgia hired me, and the voters will be the one to fire me,” Raffensperger said in a statement. “I know emotions are running high. Politics are involved in everything right now. If I was Senator Perdue, I’d be irritated I was in a runoff. And both Senators and I are all unhappy with the potential outcome for our President.”
The secretary of state asserted that Georgia voters generally followed the law, and the elections went smoothly overall. Where there are discrepancies in the vote count or reports of fraud, Raffensperger’s office is investigating, he said.
“As a Republican, I am concerned about Republicans keeping the U.S. Senate. I recommend that Senators Loeffler and Perdue start focusing on that,” the secretary of state said.
After the primary election, both of the GOP senators’ Democrat challengers called on Raffensperger to resign his post over allegations he mishandled the primary process. Raphael Warnock, who is running against Loeffler, and Jon Ossoff, who is running against Perdue, put out separate statements calling on Raffensperger to resign in June.
Georgia is a battleground state that has yet to be called in the presidential race as outstanding ballots continue to be gathered and counted nearly a week after election day. On Friday, Raffensperger confirmed that the state would go to a recount because the election “remains too close to call.”
By Monday evening, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden led President Trump in the state by less than 12,000 votes, according to The New York Times.