His fellow Republicans turned on him, but Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger isn't backing down

www.washingtonpost.com
7 min read
fairly difficult
The longtime Republican is under intense pressure as he presides over a presidential recount and nationally watched runoff elections that will determine the U.S. Senate majority.
Raffensperger isn't budging.

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While his announcement Wednesday that he had decided to conduct a hand-counted audit of the presidential vote was taken by some Republicans as affirmation of their suspicions, Raffensperger has his own expectation — that the new tally will confirm a Biden win.

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"People are just going to have to accept the results," he told The Washington Post in an interview Wednesday. "I'm a Republican. I believe in fair and secure elections."

In the political swirl that has enveloped American politics in the days since Trump refused to concede defeat, the most startling example of reality-based GOP pushback has come from a little-known but hugely influential state official in Georgia.

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Now, Raffensperger, a 65-year-old structural engineer by trade, is on the Republican firing line on two fronts in a seemingly unimaginable confluence of events: He must preside over Georgia's elections system amid both a disputed presidential election and, in just eight weeks, a runoff for two U.S. Senate seats in which his party's majority is at stake.

That means Raffensperger could well be in office during a loss of historic proportions for his own party — and, as a result, endure weeks of increasingly intense pressure to somehow intervene.

Even as most of the nation's top Republicans have largely gone along with Trump's claims, refusing to refer to Biden as the president-elect, Raffensperger has held firm that Biden's 14,000-vote lead in Georgia is the result of a free, fair and transparent election.

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At a televised news conference Wednesday, he sent an explicit message to his party, flanking himself with the local election officials whom other Republicans have accused of illegally rigging the results.

"They and their staffs are the ones who do the hard work on the ground of making sure that all legal votes will be counted," he said outside the Georgia Capitol. "Many executed their responsibilities, and they did their job."

Defiance to…
Reis Thebault, Amy Gardner
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