John Isakson, the son of the late U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, initially agreed to serve as a Trump elector if the former president won reelection but refused to be included on the new slate. He told the AJC that participating seemed like “political gamesmanship.”
State Rep. Susan Holmes, a Monticello Republican, declined to comment, while C.J. Pearson said he couldn’t serve because he moved to Alabama to attend college. Patrick Gartland cited personal reasons for his decision.
Each avoided potential criminal repercussions. The Justice Department is reviewing phony Electoral College documents to determine whether the electors committed crimes, and a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection issued subpoenas to two Georgians on the fake slate.
What’s more, the 16 Georgia Republicans who falsely claimed they were GOP electors could come under scrutiny from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is investigating Trump’s attempt to reverse his defeat.
Willis, who hasn’t commented on the possible expansion of the inquiry, recently won approval for a special grand jury with broad powers to subpoena witnesses and compel the production of documents and information.
The 16 Republicans who filled out the fake slate are a cross-section of influential leaders. They include state GOP chair David Shafer and state Sen. Burt Jones, a Trump-backed candidate for lieutenant governor.
Shafer has declined comment, but previously told the AJC the slate was intended as a provisional move in case Trump was somehow declared the victor.
Jason Shepherd, who was then the Cobb County GOP chair, said he’s relieved he didn’t join the list.
After Gartland decided he couldn’t serve, he tried to recruit Shepherd to take his place. But Shepherd told the AJC he declined because by then it was clear the pro-Trump efforts to invalidate Georgia’s election had failed.
“I was more focused on Jan. 5,” Shepherd said of the U.S. Senate runoffs that Democrats swept. “It would have been a waste of a day. In my opinion, there was no point.”