(The Center Square) – Georgia’s Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan took to CNN on Tuesday to defend Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, both fellow Republicans, and urged the party to move forward.
Kemp and Raffensperger have faced repeated Twitter attacks from President Donald Trump over the state’s handling of the election and, more recently, over Kemp’s refusal to intervene in its aftermath.
Duncan appeared on CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday morning.
“It’s an honor to go to work everyday with Gov. Kemp,” Duncan said. “Certainly over the first two years of both of our terms we’ve had a lot of challenges. We’ve had hurricanes. We’ve had pandemics. Social unrest. We’ve had an economy hit by the pandemic, and he’s certainly been a steadfast conservative leader through it all. … Secretary Raffensperger also. We served together in the House, and his conservative track record in the House is definitely what led him to be able to serve as our secretary of state.”
Georgia is in the midst of a second recount of its presidential election ballots cast. On Nov. 19, the state completed a hand recount and audit of the more than 5 million votes cast in the presidential election, which showed presumptive President-elect Joe Biden beat Trump by more than 12,000 votes. Kemp certified the results the next day, and Trump’s legal team requested a recount that weekend. The state started the requested recount last week.
Raffensperger said Monday the recount is on schedule to be completed by Wednesday’s midnight deadline.
Trump has spent the past three days on Twitter and TV attacking Kemp, a fellow Republican, and called on him Monday to “use his emergency powers, which can be easily done, to overrule his obstinate Secretary of State, and do a match of signatures on envelopes.”
Kemp’s office issued a statement Monday in response, noting Georgia law prohibits the governor from interfering with elections.
“The secretary of state, who is an elected constitutional officer, has oversight over elections that cannot be overridden by executive order,” the statement read.
Trump tweeted again Tuesday, imploring Kemp to “do something.”
“I would urge the president, I would urge Republicans, to redirect their post-election approach here. We both have long-term and short-term challenges if we don’t,” Duncan said. “I think short-term, we run the risk of alienating voters for our [U.S.] Senate race that is coming upon us for Senator [Kelly] Loeffler and Senator [David Perdue], and we need them. As a Republican, I want them in that Senate.
“And long-term, I think we hurt the brand of our Republican Party, which is certainly bigger than one person,” Duncan said.
Both of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats are up for grabs in runoff elections Jan. 5. Republican incumbent Perdue faces Democrat challenger Jon Ossoff, and Republican incumbent Loeffler is being challenged by Democrat Raphael Warnock. Those races will determine which party holds the majority in the U.S. Senate moving forward.