It’s starting to feel like Donald Trump doesn’t want any Republicans to win in Georgia if he or his candidates can’t win.
In a near-exact replay of his 2021 message heading into the doomed Senate runoffs, when he convinced his supporters that Georgia elections can’t be trusted, Trump blasted out an email message Tuesday morning with a single, ominous sentence: “Something stinks in Georgia.”
The message linked to an essay by far-right writer, Emerald Robinson, who wrote that Gov. Brian Kemp’s winning margin of 74 % to 22% over David Perdue last week was proof of “obvious fraud.”
“Nobody in any election in America gets 74% of the votes. Ever,” she wrote. “It doesn’t happen.”
In reality, plenty of people in America win with 74% of the vote. On election night in Georgia, several Republicans won by that much or more.
U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde won with 76% of the vote. U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson got 82%. U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene only won with 70%, but she also had five GOP opponents trying to oust her from office.
The rest of Robinson’s essay, sent out far and wide by the former president, pointed to the difference between the Real Clear Politics average of public polls taken since December of 2021 and the election results last week as more proof of hanky panky, an assertion as ludicrous as it is uninformed.
Trump’s bad-math-and-sour-grapes routine is a familiar one in Georgia by now., but it’s made even less credible by the fact that all four of Trump’s statewide losers — the very ones he seems to be saying were defrauded — quickly conceded their own lopsided races last week with no echo of Trump’s allegations of fraud.
David Perdue, Trump’s pick for governor, was first out of the gate, telling his stunned supporters by 8:30 Tuesday night he’d lost to the governor.
“It’s emotional for all of us. You’re disappointed, I get that,” Perdue said. “What we’re going to do is take a few hours, lick our wounds, and tomorrow morning, you’re going to hear me going to work for Brian Kemp to make damn sure that Stacey Abrams is never governor of Georgia.”
U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, Trump’s pick against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, centered his entire campaign on false accusations of fraud in 2020.
But after losing to Raffensperger by 19 points last week, Hice simply wrote a message thanking his volunteers, “My only apology is that we could not give them the victory they deserved.”
And unlike Trump, Hice stressed the need for every Georgia Republican to vote in November. “We cannot concede our country to the radical left.”
Further down the ballot, both John Gordon and Patrick Witt conceded their races for attorney general and insurance commissioner, which they lost by 47 points and 54 points respectively.
Witt wrote on Twitter, that he was disappointed, but “deeply grateful to have had this opportunity & to have met so many wonderful people along the way.”
Gordon congratulated incumbent Attorney General Chris Carr and said, “I am better for having had this experience!”
No candidate on the Republican ballot last week, other than “Babies, God, and Guns” fringe candidate Kandiss Taylor, raised any objections to the results. (She finished with less than 5%.)
The most noteworthy concession came from Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller, the affable car dealer from Gainesville who lost the GOP lieutenant governor nomination to state Sen. Burt Jones.
Although Trump endorsed Jones, it was really the millions of dollars from the Jones family fortune that Miller could not compete with.
When the final tally showed Jones squeaking by the 50% mark. Miller said in a statement, “I concede this race today not asking for a recount, despite how close we came to a runoff.”
He said the election overhaul Republicans passed last year has been proven to work and candidates need to start accepting results.
“For the sake of our state, I call on all who are advancing to the general election to FIGHT ALL YOU CAN ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL, BUT ONCE THE VOTES ARE CAST AND COUNTED to accept the election results.”
Miller’s statement reflected the exhaustion of many high-ranking Republicans after the last year and a half of Trump-caused chaos, not just inside the Republican Party, but in undermining the election system Georgia Republicans have overseen for more than a decade.
Trump is now under grand jury investigation for possible criminal election interference in 2020. His Stop the Steal message was roundly rejected last week by Republican voters. And even the candidates who echoed him during the campaign aren’t going along with his conspiracies this time around.
He and his candidates have racked up statewide losses in the last three elections in a row. If he continues to tell GOP voters their votes don’t count, Republicans know they can expect the same results in November that they got last year.
“This is why we have two Democratic senators,” an exasperated senior Republican texted on Tuesday after Trump started up again, referring back to the 2021 runoffs when thousands of Trump voters stayed home instead of going to the polls for Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
The only thing that stinks in Georgia this year is Trump’s continued meddling in the state’s elections.
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com