Georgia’s top elections official, Brad Raffensperger, claims primary win despite Trump’s wrath

May 26, 2022

Georgia’s top elections official, Brad Raffensperger, proved on May 25 that a low-key Republican can stand up to former President Donald Trump and still come out on top, reports The Daily Beast.

Indeed, according to the Beast, the Republican secretary of state overcame the odds and won Tuesday’s primary race—beating two Big Lie conspiracy theorists who tried to make him pay for standing by the real 2020 election results.

Raffensperger’s ability to bat away contenders—and even avoid a run-off election—shows that he is still riding high on his moment of triumph last year, when he became a hero to Democrats and moderate Republicans for resisting Trump’s menacing pleas to overturn election results in Georgia.

Although Representative Jody Hice (R-Georgia) received a massive boost from  Trump’s endorsement, the traditionally conservative Raffensperger now forges ahead against a Democrat in November.

In Georgia, primary candidates need to win a majority to avoid a runoff. According to state data Tuesday evening, Raffensperger narrowly pulled off the feat. With 89% of precincts across the state reporting in results, Raffensperger just barely pulled ahead with 52%.

The Daily Beast spoke to Raffensperger at his election night party on Tuesday night at a restaurant in Atlanta’s northern suburb of Peachtree Corners, where the mood was buoyant. When asked about how Hice and Belle Isle had based much of their challenge on the 2020 election dispute, Raffensperger told The Daily Beast he thought it was all hot air and pandering.

“Have them put their hands on the Bible, and they’ll do a 180,” he said.

Later that night, he and his elections team—which included campaign supervisor Jordan Fuchs—jointly decided to declare victory and pop bottles of champagne just before midnight. Close supporters and state agency employees could be heard making toasts to “integrity.”

“To democracy,” said Noula Zaharis, a regulator at the secretary of state’s office who oversees securities and charities.

Research contact: @thedailybeast