Pence cites concerns about ‘voting irregularities’ in presidential election

Vice president urges fellow Republicans to vote Tuesday

MILNER — Citing concerns about “voting irregularities” in President Donald Trump’s election defeat, Vice President Mike Pence on Monday urged fellow religious conservatives here to show up at the polls for U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.

“Georgia needs two senators that will get in the way of the radical agenda of the Democratic Party and fight for Georgia values every day,” Pence said of the battle for control of the U.S. Senate.

Speaking at Rock Springs Church, Pence did not discuss the recent phone call in which Trump demanded that Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger “find” votes to reverse his defeat in Georgia. But Pence said he stands with Trump, and he touched on Republican objections to the presidential election results.

“I know we all have got our doubts about the last election,” Pence said. “I want to assure you that I share the concerns of millions of Americans about voting irregularities. I promise you come this Wednesday we will have our day in Congress.”

Pence then pivoted back to his message, declaring: “Tomorrow is Georgia’s day.” At one point, some in the crowd chanted, “Stop the Steal!”

State and federal election authorities have said there’s no evidence of widespread irregularities in Georgia and other battleground states. Meanwhile, courts at every level have dismissed challenges from Trump’s campaign and its allies seeking to overturn Georgia’s close election.

Hundreds showed up for the event at the church Monday, nearly filling all the seats in the sanctuary, which sits beneath a giant white cross. Many did not wear masks. Red and blue “Trump” baseball caps and T-shirts were ubiquitous.

The words “Defend the Majority” were projected onto a screen above the stage and beside a large American flag.

Earlier, Cameron Shiflett, the church’s executive pastor, led the crowd in prayer for what he called a “God and country event.”

“We are one nation under God,” he said. “It is in God we trust and in Jesus’ name we pray.”

Next, Public Service Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald Jr., a Republican, led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance before a female vocalist performed “God Bless the U.S.A.” Later, the church’s senior pastor, Benny Tate, took the stage and put Perdue on speakerphone. The senator told Tate he wished he could be at the church but was quarantining amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I want to remind people of what is at stake tomorrow: The very future of our republic is on the line,” Perdue said. “This will determine the future of America for a long, long time.”

“Our responsibility I believe as people of faith is, first, we have to fight for the unborn,” Perdue continued, eliciting applause.

He added, “We have to fight for our freedom.”

“Remember, voting is not just a right. It is a responsibility. It is a calling from God, I believe,” Perdue said. “I believe tomorrow is a day of accounting, a day of reckoning.”

Alisa Mann, a substitute preschool teacher from Locust Grove, attended the event at the church, wearing a black “God, Guns and Trump” sweatshirt. Asked about the Republican allegations of fraud in the presidential election, she said there were “too many suspicious things going on.”

“I want it to be right, no matter what, whether I agree with who wins or not,” she said. “I just want it to be right and people to trust in the system.”

“To be honest, it was a little bit of a reason why I didn’t vote early — because you hear lots of stuff and you don’t know what to believe,” said Mann, who plans to vote Tuesday for Perdue and Loeffler. “That was a little bit of a reason why I was like, ‘I am going to wait the day of.’ ”

John Ricketson, a homebuilder from Bolingbroke who serves as vice chairman of the Monroe County Republican Party, said of the allegations of voter fraud: “It appears that we weren’t looking and got snookered. Something happened.”

Ricketson, who wore a “Trump 2020” face mask to the church, said he voted early for Perdue and Loeffler. Asked about Trump’s phone call with Raffensperger, Ricketson said: “Trump has never been a politician, so he doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut, so that is the only problem with that.”