“I am a Republican and a Conservative. And I think I’m going to be disappointed because I do not think my candidate will win, ”Raffensperger said in an interview this week before Georgia certified its results. “But having said that, I want 100 percent of people to trust the results. I do not like it. And I’ll have to take that medicine, just like everyone else in my party will, but that’s going to be an accurate count. ”
Raffensperger said he will run for another term in 2022, though other Republicans “probably have ideas” of beating him in a sermon now, he said. “And right now the emotions are pretty high. That̵
He gets air support. Republicans for the Rule of Law, a group that has opposed Trump, was recently launched a half-million-dollar advertising campaign in the state, which thanks Raffensperger for running a “textbook choice under extraordinary circumstances.”
“Look, it’s an unfortunate reality that in the Trump era, with the exception of a few precious ones, it has been difficult for Republicans who have stood in their place and stood on the side of the truth against the president,” said Sarah Longwell, an anti-Trump Republican operator who helps lead the group. “It may hurt him politically, but I think it’s his credit – as a man and Republicans – that he will tell the truth, no matter what.”
Trump has expressed opposition to Raffensperger, labeled him as a RINO in a tweet and amplified calls from GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler on the resignation of Raffensperger.
A simple mention in Trump’s Twitter feed could have serious consequences for the safety and mental health of officials beyond their political considerations.
The threats “started quite generally by nature,” said Al Schmidt, a Republican election commissioner in Philadelphia. “But then unfortunately, after the president tweeted my name, there were several of them, and they were far more specific. So with reference to my kids and what they will do to them. ”
Like Raffensperger, the president tweeted about Schmidt, also calling him a RINO, saying he “refuses to look at a mountain of corruption and dishonesty.” Schmidt said he now has a security detail from the city to protect him and his family.
“It’s not just me, it’s my staff, the other Commissioners, too,” Schmidt said. The threats are not new either. Many election officials have been dealing with them for several months.
Electoral officials across the country have reported receiving threats to carry out their jobs. “There are those, including the president, members of Congress and other elected officials, who continue to misinformation and encourage others to distribute the election results in a way that violates the office they have held,” Arizona State Secretary Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, said in a declaration. “Their words and actions have consequences.”
Even those who took the relatively prosaic step of making it easier to vote in the midst of a pandemic – like Kentucky’s Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams – were not immune. Adams worked with Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear to significantly expand access to the ballot for his state’s primary election in June, earning him two-party praise in the state and in parliamentary elections.
But he said he had also been criticized by Republicans for his efforts as Trump fulminated against the once uncontroversial practice of postal voting – while national figures and prominent Democrats such as LeBron James and Hillary Clinton criticized the state for leaving a low number of polling stations open (omits details such as extension of mail reconciliation). This led to violent calls that blocked the election official’s phone lines. Adams also noted that he took a significant political risk.
“I have taken tremendous support for my decisions on how we can make our choices safe and successful, but note that no one is arguing that I have made these decisions in my own or others’ political interests,” he tweeted in August. “Show me the door in 2023, but until then I will act according to my knowledge and my conscience.”
Georgia’s Raffensperger insists he is not bothered by the attacks on him, saying he has the backing of rank-and-file supporters.
“Really a lot of grassroots Republicans. “Ronald Reagan-type Republicans,” conservatives, “are with me,” Raffensberger said. “People who can be objective and fair, and they do not let outside forces spin them up.”
Philadelphia’s Schmidt said he is less concerned about his own political future than he is with the erosion of confidence in the democratic system.
“I am concerned, I would say, for the future of our country in some respects,” Schmidt said. “I am obviously concerned about the party and its future. But just more broadly, the damage being done to our electoral system. ”
Schmidt, who was re-elected for a third term in 2019 and can only be re-elected until 2023, said “I really have not thought about” if he would run again. But he talked a lot about deteriorating confidence in the US election.
“There is an expression, ‘there is not a Republican or a democratic way to fix a hole,'” he said. “There should be no Republican or Democratic way of counting a vote.”