Former President Donald Trump on Monday endorsed Rep. Jody Hice in a campaign to take down and unseat Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in next year’s Republican primary, saying that “unlike” the incumbent, “Jody leads out front with integrity.”
“Jody has been a steadfast fighter for conservative Georgia values and is a staunch ally of the America First agenda. 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,” the former president said in a statement released by his political action committee, Save America PAC.
“Jody will stop the Fraud and get honesty into our Elections! Jody loves the people of Georgia, and has my Complete and Total Endorsement,” Trump emphasized.
The Georgia congressman, rather than seek reelection to Georgia’s 10th Congressional District opted to run again Raffensperger. In his campaign launch announcement prior to Trump’s endorsement, Hice savaged the secretary of state, saying “what Brad Raffensperger did was create cracks in the integrity of our elections, which I wholeheartedly believe individuals took advantage of in 2020.”
“Free and fair elections are the foundation of our country,” Hice said in a separate statement. “Georgia deserves a Secretary of State who will own the responsibilities of the office. If elected, I will instill confidence in our election process by upholding the Georgia Constitution, enforcing meaningful reform, and aggressively pursuing those who commit voter fraud.”
Trump’s endorsement of Hice is one of the latest prominent moves Trump has made so far in his efforts to try to punish Republican lawmakers who have crossed the former president. In Georgia, Raffensperger is considered one of Trump’s top targets, along with the Peach State’s governor, Brian Kemp, who is also up for re-election next year. So far, no GOP members have come forth to announce a bid to run against Kemp and Trump has yet called for one of his allies to launch a primary bid like he has done so with the Senate race by calling on Hershel Walker to challenge Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock, who is up in 2022.
Biden carrying the state by a narrow margin of exactly 11,779 votes out of the five million cast during the 2020 election, making Trump the first Republican presidential candidate to lose the Peach state since 1992. Georgia conducted two statewide recounts and a partial audit and Raffensperger along with other election officials certified Biden’s victory, stating the results are fair and accurate.
Meanwhile, Raffensperger has vowed to “absolutely” run for reelection despite the backlash from his party’s base, which included a resolution adopted by the state GOP on Friday claiming his office “undermined public confidence” in the 2020 election.
Hice, in a statement on Twitter, said “I am honored to have the endorsement of President Donald Trump! His priority has always been America first!” and linked a site where supporters could donate to his campaign to unseat the top elected official.
I am honored to have the endorsement of President Donald Trump! His priority has always been America first!
— Jody Hice (@JodyHice) March 22, 2021
Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the president, teased the “big endorsement” a day prior in an interview with Fox News, saying the news in Georgia would “really shake things up in the political landscape.”
“Pay attention to Georgia tomorrow,” Miller told MediaBuzz on Sunday. “There’s a big endorsement that’s coming that’s going to really shake things up in the political landscape in Georgia.”