So by now, you probably have seen President Donald Trump’s Thursday evening attempt, from the White House, to declare the results of the 2020 election a fraud.

His prevarications were too numerous to recount here. But Trump singled out, baselessly, your state. Said the president:

“In Georgia, I won by a lot. A lot. With a lead of over -- getting close to 300,000 votes on election night in Georgia. And now it’s getting to be to a point where I’ll go from winning by a lot, to perhaps even being down a little bit.”

-

As a flourish, Trump added this: “The election apparatus in Georgia is run by Democrats.”

Needless to say, the president was right in one thing. As of this writing, Joe Biden is ahead by about 1,000 votes in Georgia.

But you might also think that Trump’s remarks have put Georgia Republicans in the awkward position of having to remind the president that Gov. Brian Kemp is a card-carrying member of the GOP, as is Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger -- who actually oversees the state’s election operation.

“Let it die down,” said one prominent Georgia Republican, describing how the party’s leadership intended to respond to Trump’s attack on the nation’s vast election system.

Indeed, there was no reaction from Kemp or U.S. Sen. David Perdue. U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler let it be known she was donating to his legal fund. This morning, Raffensperger’s top deputy, Jordan Fuchs, put out what we think is the only public response:

“Georgians deserve real, accurate election results,” she said. “Election workers around the state are working with integrity to ensure every legal ballot is counted.”

But significantly, shortly after Trump left his White House podium without taking questions, the leadership of the Georgia GOP endorsed the president’s complaint with a hastily called rally.

11/05/2020 —  Atlanta, Georgia —  Georgia Rep. Vernon Jones speaks during a Republican rally in the parking lot at the Georgia Republican Party Headquarters in Atlanta’s Buckhead community, Thursday, November 5, 2020.  (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)
11/05/2020 — Atlanta, Georgia — Georgia Rep. Vernon Jones speaks during a Republican rally in the parking lot at the Georgia Republican Party Headquarters in Atlanta’s Buckhead community, Thursday, November 5, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

State Rep. Vernon Jones, D-Lithonia, was there. So was state Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta. Then there was U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, who had just lost his bid for the U.S. Senate.

With Georgia GOP chair David Shafer standing next to him, Collins gave mention to the burst water pipe at State Farm Arena, where Fulton County absentee ballots were being counted. He proclaimed that every illegal vote suppresses a legal one. But again, he offered no proof that any illegal ballots had been cast. The charge is an empty one. The Gainesville congressman then introduced Donald Trump Jr., who followed in his father’s rhetorical footsteps.

Trump Jr. spoke of a Republican party “that hasn’t had a backbone.”

11/05/2020 —  Atlanta, Georgia —  U.S. Congressman Doug Collins speaks during a Republican rally in the parking lot at the Georgia Republican Party Headquarters in Atlanta’s Buckhead community, Thursday, November 5, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)
11/05/2020 — Atlanta, Georgia — U.S. Congressman Doug Collins speaks during a Republican rally in the parking lot at the Georgia Republican Party Headquarters in Atlanta’s Buckhead community, Thursday, November 5, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

“You’re not going to see that this time around. That party is gone, and anyone that doesn’t fight like that should go with it,” he said. The party members staged behind him shouted, “Stop the steal! Stop the steal!”

Again, we don’t want to pass on to you a litany of baseless accusations. But you need to know why Republicans here are standing behind the Trump family’s fiction of a rigged game in GOP-controlled Georgia. That quote above from Trump Jr. is one reason. Trump supporters remain cohesive enough to damage any Republican who contradicts the president. But another, more practical reason is likely at play.

“You’re going to have another election here in about two months, that could decide the fate of the United States Senate,” Trump Jr. said. “So we’re going to be watching this nonsense. Because everyone knows what’s going on.”

Actually, we will probably have two U.S. Senate races: Democrat Raphael Warnock vs. Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler, and Republican incumbent David Perdue vs. Jon Ossoff.

At one level, Republicans will make the case for retaining a divided government -- that a GOP-controlled Senate is needed to put a check on a President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. That’s to be expected.

But no matter how unfounded, do not expect this nonsense of a stolen presidential election to disappear. In an age of disinformation, this fiction will be used to rally much of Georgia’s Republican base ahead of the Jan. 5 votes.

***

201106-Jonesboro-A Biden-Harris sign stands on the lawn in front of the Historic Clayton County Courthouse in Jonesboro on Friday morning, Nov. 6, 2020 after the county pushed Joe Biden into the lead in Georgia election results. Ben Gray for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
201106-Jonesboro-A Biden-Harris sign stands on the lawn in front of the Historic Clayton County Courthouse in Jonesboro on Friday morning, Nov. 6, 2020 after the county pushed Joe Biden into the lead in Georgia election results. Ben Gray for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Ben Gray

Credit: Ben Gray

It was Clayton County, part of the late congressman John Lewis' Fifth District, that put Biden ahead of Trump early this morning.

Many Democrats mused that Lewis, who died in July, was getting a bit of revenge from the beyond. President Donald Trump once described Lewis' district as “crime-infested.”

When Lewis died, the president only allowed flags to fly at half-staff on federal property for a single day. (Until the burial is customary. This is how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Gov. Brian Kemp handled it.)

Lewis didn’t care for Trump, either. He refused to attend the president’s inauguration or State of the Union addresses. He made it clear he considered Trump, who lost the popular vote to Hilary Clinton, an illegitimate president.

***

One of us put out a Twitter thread on Tuesday night that has aged particularly well:

Tonight’s cautionary tale: The year was 1980. Veteran U.S. Sen. Herman Talmadge, a former Georgia governor and son of another governor, went to bed thinking he had beaten Republican Mack Mattingly, whom he had dismissed as that “typewriter salesman.”

...Talmadge had been projected the winner by two TV networks and United Press International. While the Democrat was asleep, Cobb and Gwinnett counties, which were in the process of turning red, dumped their numbers.

...Talmadge woke up a loser by 25,000 votes. Mattingly became the first Republican elected statewide since Reconstruction. This was also suburban Atlanta’s first display of real political muscle.

...Two score later, the night is young, and metro Atlanta has yet to weigh in.

***

The conservative-leaning Heritage Action is about to make a play in Georgia.

The group plans to spend $1 million over the next two months aimed at knocking doors, making calls and running digital ads backing Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the runoffs.

The group is highlighting how the two incumbents were the first two senators to sign the group’s pledge that opposes the “defund the police” movement.

Volunteers and attorneys with the group will also head to Georgia to supervise polling and counting operations. About 130 of those staffers are being deployed across swing states.

***

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler has donated the maximum $2,800 contribution to the Trump campaign’s “Recount Account,” a fund designated for financing post-election recounts and election contests. More here about the president’s allegations of voter fraud, the lack of evidence to back any of it up and how Republicans like Loeffler are walking the fine line of supporting the president but stopping short of repeating his false claims.

***

11/02/2020 —  Atlanta, Georgia — Former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks during a Biden-Harris rally in Atlanta’s Summerhill community, Monday, November 2, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)
11/02/2020 — Atlanta, Georgia — Former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks during a Biden-Harris rally in Atlanta’s Summerhill community, Monday, November 2, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Stacey Abrams is getting a lot of credit for helping make the case that Georgia should be taken seriously as a battleground state and for building a ground game that former Vice President Joe Biden was able to capitalize on.

Nse Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project, in an interview with Slate:

"I feel like I am an extraordinary organizer, my platform, my stage is in the spreadsheets, in the data, and in Black church basements and housing projects across the state—Stacey got Joe Biden and the DNC to take Georgia seriously, to invest. And so, I mean, while I feel like the work that I do is central and important to this change, I know we wouldn’t be in the position that we’re in without her leadership and her vision and her relationships. Yeah, she deserves a lot of credit.

-

And in USA Today:

Abrams is one of the most influential progressive leaders in the state, many say, and for years has said it could go blue.

“Whatever happens in Georgia, everyone should get on their knees and thank strong Black women like the fearless @staceyabrams and so many who slog away without appreciation,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., tweeted.

-

***

Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux has claimed victory in the Seventh District congressional race, but the Associated Press has yet to call the contest and Republican Rich McCormick hasn’t conceded. From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

“Mr. McCormick has no plans to concede this election until all votes in the Seventh District are tabulated, reported, and certified,” the Republican’s campaign said in a statement Thursday morning. “We also reserve the right to manually audit the batch of ballots in question and ensure that neither this ‘software issue,’ nor any actions taken have resulted in inaccurate reporting of unofficial results.”

-

In Other News