Perdue can’t vote on Georgia’s presidential electoral results this week

U.S. Sen. David Perdue gives greets the crowd during a Defend the Majority Republican Rally in Canton, Ga., on Nov. 20, 2020.  (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)
U.S. Sen. David Perdue gives greets the crowd during a Defend the Majority Republican Rally in Canton, Ga., on Nov. 20, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

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

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

UPDATE SUNDAY, JAN. 3, 2020: As the new Congress convenes today, U.S. Sen. David Perdue is in quarantine after being exposed to the coronavirus. As an AJC story today reminds us: Through a quirk in the timing of the runoff for his Senate seat, Perdue’s term ends this Sunday. Even if he wins Tuesday’s runoff against Democrat Jon Ossoff, Perdue can’t take office until the election in Georgia is certified in a few weeks.

Still, the first-term Republican has told some that he will vote to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory even though he cannot do so when the Senate officially considers the presidential results Wednesday, and his aides have amplified a Trump tweet thanking him for that non-existent decision.

ExploreRunoffs to leave Georgia one man down in Senate

Here’s The Jolt from Monday, Dec. 21 that spotlighted Perdue’s double-speak:

The Jolt: David Perdue’s double-speak on challenging Biden’s victory

When it comes to the question of contesting President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory in Congress, U.S. Sen. David Perdue is trying to have it both ways.

Perdue’s camp said last week that he can’t formally lodge a challenge when Congress meets on Jan. 6 because his term ends on Jan. 3 — two days before the runoff — and he can’t participate in Senate business until the results are certified.

But he apparently is leading crowds at his rallies to believe otherwise. That’s according to Lauren Windsor, who tweeted that Perdue told her he would “keep fighting for Donald Trump and challenge the Electoral College on Jan 6.”

We normally wouldn’t pay it such heed. But in this case the message was amplified by President Donald Trump, who called Perdue a “great guy and a patriot” and thanked Windsor for her tweet. And members of Perdue’s campaign retweeted Trump.

Given the chance to clarify publicly that Perdue won’t be in place to challenge the election results, the Republican’s campaign declined to comment.

Perdue ducked a chance to take questions from the press after a rally in Cumming, leaving U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler to handle the scrum solo.

“Everything is on the table right now,” said Loeffler, who can actually vote to challenge the results but hasn’t said whether she would. “This president has fought for us, we’re fighting for him.”

We still haven’t arrived at the best part of the story. Windsor is no die-hard Perdue fan. She’s a left-leaning operative who hosts an online political show called The Undercurrent. And she makes no attempt at hiding her affiliation.

“Please follow me for continuing coverage exposing these GOP traitors for what they are — threats to democracy and the rule of law,” she tweeted back at Trump.

She also tried to join a throng of sign-waving Loeffler supporters arrayed behind the senator during her press conference, but the Republican’s staffers kicked Windsor out of the event before she could infiltrate the group.

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Already posted: Most of the 28 state legislators and seven members of Congress who signed onto that failed Texas lawsuit challenging election results in Georgia refused to answer the AJC’s questions about state’s rights issues at play. But those who did respond stood behind their decision.

The lawsuit exposed festering criticism that GOP lawmakers have about the consent decree Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger brokered with the Democratic Party in order to settle a legal challenge after the 2018 election. Several lawmakers told us they always disagreed with his decision, but it wasn’t until Joe Biden carried Georgia that they felt compelled to speak publicly.

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Republican members of the U.S. House Oversight Committee, including Georgia Rep. Jody Hice, haved asked Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to brief them on his handling of the 2020 general election. More specifically, they want him to explain “his actions and failures,” according to Hice, the panel’s ranking member.

Over the weekend, he complained that Raffensperger had missed a Dec. 22 deadline to respond to the invitation. We will point out here that Democrats are in the majority in the House and therefore control the agenda of any official committee meetings or hearing.

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Kelly Loeffler’s attacks on Rev. Raphael Warnock’s pulpit activities drew a rebuke from a group of pastors and other religious leaders, the AJC’s Johnny Edwards reports.

A coalition of clergy members wants U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler to stop maligning her opponent’s progressive brand of Christianity, calling her attack ads against the Rev. Raphael Warnock also attacks on the Black church.

“We call upon you, Kelly Loeffler,” said the letter from more than 100 religious leaders, “to cease your false attacks on Reverend Warnock’s social justice theological and faith traditions which visualizes a just and ardent world where love, fairness and equal justice under the law for marginalized people of all races is not only accepted as an authentic prophetic message in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, but also a central message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The letter made public over the weekend was signed mostly by Black church leaders from throughout Georgia, but also included some Muslim leaders and pastors from South Carolina, Alabama and Colorado.

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The pro-Democratic Georgia Honor PAC is spending more than $3 million — along with a six-figure digital buy — on a late volley of TV ads that pans U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler for her stock transactions and coronavirus approach.

The 30-second ad accuses Loeffler of “selling us out” and invokes the gridlock over a coronavirus relief package that promises much-needed relief for millions of Georgians. Loeffler says the stock trades were handled by financial advisers without her input and that she has done nothing wrong.

The aid package is set to be approved in Congress as early as Monday, though Democrats still plan to blame Republicans for the months-long delay.

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About that $900 billion coronavirus stimulus package: Individual Americans could get checks up to $600 and unemployment benefits will get a boost. Passing a stimulus bill before the holiday recess became a key goal for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, especially when the lack of a deal became a prominent issue during Georgia’s dueling U.S. Senate runoffs.

We expect some conservative lawmakers in Georgia and elsewhere to vote “no,” mainly in protest of the timing. The package was finalized Sunday and members will likely receive less than 24 hours to digest its contents and ask questions. Some Democrats, although unlikely any from Georgia, may vote against the package on account they don’t think it goes far enough.

Still, expect overwhelming and bipartisan support in both chambers and a quick signature from President Donald Trump.

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The More Than A Vote voting rights group led by NBA superstar LeBron James has rolled out two separate partnerships aimed at boosting turnout ahead of the Jan. 5 Senate runoffs.

The first involves the Black Voters Matter Fund, an East Point-based group that focuses on turning out young Black men who are less likely to vote.

The second involves a partnership with the ride-hailing service Lyft that provides users free rides to early vote locations in Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon-Warner Robins and Savannah — all major population centers with large Black populations.

Voters in those cities can get one free ride up to $15 to any early voting location by using the code MTAVGA — an incentive the group’s organizers hope is particularly helpful for those in communities that lack access to reliable public transportation.

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The Knight Foundation conducted an interesting poll, this one focused on Georgia residents who don’t routinely exercise their right to vote.

These 800 “non-voters” represent a segment of the population that will be crucial to what is expected to be close races in both Georgia senate runoffs. The poll found that Georgia non-voters lean more Democratic but are not very liberal. They generally have a negative view of President Donald Trump and Congress, and most do not believe the country is on track.

The key statistic that explains where political parties and independent groups are working overtime: the vast majority of non-voters could be motivated to cast ballots. Only 22% said nothing could get them to participate in an election.

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Georgia’s newest U.S. House members are starting to receive their committee assignments for upcoming session of Congress.

Reps.-elect Carolyn Bourdeaux and Nikema Williams will both serve on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; these are key roles since both members represent traffic-clogged districts in metro Atlanta. The position puts them in place to lobby for Georgia to receive funding and resources that will improve public transportation and roads.

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