TRUMP LOSES BIG. If former President Donald Trump focused on any state more than others in his drive to overturn the 2020 election results, it was Georgia. On Jan. 2, 2021, Trump called Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, claiming he had won the state by "hundreds of thousands" of votes when in fact he lost by a narrow 11,779 votes. In the call, Trump famously said, "I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state." Raffensperger, backed up by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, refused to help Trump change the voting results.
Ever since, Trump has made Georgia a special target. He trashed Kemp repeatedly. "This guy is a disaster," Trump said of Kemp at a rally in September 2021. Trump said he was "ashamed" to have endorsed Kemp in 2018 and that Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams might be a better governor than Kemp.
Trump then recruited former Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), who lost a Senate runoff in which Republican turnout was likely lower than it otherwise would have been because of Trump's claim that the vote was rigged, to challenge Kemp in the GOP governor's primary. It was an uphill battle from the start. Early polls starting last December showed Kemp with a solid lead that by March was a double-digit lead that by May was a 20-plus point lead — despite Trump's efforts on Perdue's behalf. A few polls, most notably a Fox News poll from May 16 that showed Kemp with a 32-point lead, suggested a blowout might be in the making.
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Turns out it was much, much worse than that for Perdue — and for Trump. The latest count, nearly complete, shows Kemp with 73.7% of the vote to Perdue's 21.8% — a 51.9 percentage point lead. It was a blowout. And for those who might attribute it to Democrats crossing over and voting in the Republican primary, Kemp won by 619,227 votes. That's far too big for crossover voting to be decisive. Finally, just to add to Trump's losses, Raffensperger easily survived a primary challenge, too, with 52.3% of the vote to his nearest competitor's 33.4%.
The Perdue loss was the third governor's race, joining Idaho and Nebraska, in which a Trump-endorsed candidate lost. But it was a special case. Georgia was Exhibit A in Trump's argument that the 2020 election was stolen, and the Republican primary for governor was his highest-profile chance to get revenge against Republicans he blamed for not going along with his efforts to change the results.
Yes, Trump-endorsed candidates have won big races, most notably Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance, for whom Trump's help was apparently decisive. In Pennsylvania, his endorsement of Dr. Mehmet Oz split the Republican Party, and that primary remains too close to call, although Oz is leading. But Georgia was a big, big deal for Trump.
Now, after the race, Trump has decided to ignore, or virtually ignore, the Georgia results. "A very big and successful evening of political endorsements," he posted on Truth Social, his social media platform, on Wednesday morning. "Overall for the 'Cycle,' 100 wins, 6 losses (some of which were not possible to win), and 2 runoffs. Thank you, and CONGRATULATIONS to all!"
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, Oz's lead over fellow Republican Dave McCormick is down to 968 votes out of 1.3 million votes cast in that state's GOP primary. There will be a recount, but recounts seldom change the final results of an election. Still, there is a dispute over the counting of absentee ballots — McCormick has gone to court in an effort to allow the counting of absentee ballots that were received by the deadline but did not have a date written on them.
Trump has suggested the Pennsylvania vote was rigged — although this time, he says it was Republicans who did the rigging. "Dr. Oz should declare victory," Trump said on Truth Social. "It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they 'just happened to find.'" Later, Trump wrote, "Stop FINDING VOTES in PENNSYLVANIA! RIGGED?"
With that, Trump may have reached the point of diminishing returns with his accusation that this or that election was RIGGED! He has accused Democrats of rigging the vote. He has accused Republicans of rigging the vote. It is his go-to accusation. But even he is unlikely to declare an election decided by 619,227 votes to be RIGGED! The fact is, in a very important state, Trump took a big loss on Tuesday.
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