President Trump is heading to Georgia on Saturday to stump for Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), worrying some Republicans in the state.
Matt Towery, a former Georgia GOP legislator who is now a political analyst and pollster, told Reuters that Trump’s rally could be a boost for the senators — who are both facing Democratic challengers in separate runoffs that will determine which party controls the upper chamber in the early stages of the Biden administration — “if he spends most of his time talking about the two candidates, how wonderful they are, what they’ve achieved.” But if he centers the rally around his election defeat, pushing his unfounded claims of voter fraud and “telling everyone how terrible” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is, Towery worries the president could wind up exacerbating Republican voters’ fears of election tampering, prompting them to stay home in January.
That’s been the challenge over the last few weeks for Loeffler, Perdue, and the Republican Party, who have had to straddle the line between encouraging voters to go to the polls, while also entertaining Trump’s allegations and refusing to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden’s win so as to avoid angering the president and his base. As Gabriel Sterling, a top election official and Republican who recently called out Trump for “inspiring” violence with his election fraud rhetoric, put it in an interview with The Atlantic, the senators “are stuck in a box and the president put them in it.”
Vice President Mike Pence was in Georgia on Friday, urging voters to go to the polls despite their doubts. Trump may very well do the same, but he’s also usually more liable to go off script than Pence. Read more at Reuters and The Atlantic. Tim O’Donnell