The Jolt: GOPers worry Trump’s 2020 obsession will cost them in 2022

News and analysis from the politics team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Republicans desperate to avoid a repeat of the Georgia Senate runoffs are trying to downplay former President Donald Trump’s insistence that GOP voters will boycott the elections if they don’t focus on his lies about election fraud.

Trump’s focus on his own election defeat factored into a steep drop off in Republican votes in some of the state’s reddest territory during the January runoffs, which ended with a Democratic sweep of the U.S. Senate seats.

National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Tom Emmer had a curt response when asked about Trump’s obsession with his election defeat and how it could distract attention from the 2022 midterms.

“He’s a private citizen and he’s entitled to his own opinion,” Emmer told Politico.

The Washington Post has a more candid response from a Republican on hand in Palm Beach for a Trump speech to GOP senators this week, where he focused more on 2020 elections than the ones coming up in 2022 or 2024.

“It gives everyone cold sweats over the Georgia situation and the prospect he could have some impact again,” said a strategist, who asked for anonymity to speak openly.

In Georgia, the pro-Trump slate of candidates who were endorsed by the former president continued their silence on his remarks.

But Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who is promoting a “GOP 2.0″ that transcends Trump, is not biting his tongue.

“Trump is a sugar high that’s going to wear off,” he said. “We need to pick up where he left off and win in 2024.”


POSTED: Georgia wasn’t just a primary target during then-President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election — some of his critics say recent findings prove it was an obsession, our D.C. Insider Tia Mitchell writes.

In the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s 394-page report about its elections investigation, Georgia is mentioned 317 times. That is more than the combined 270 mentions of three other states where Trump and his allies attempted to overturn Biden’s win: Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Fulton County comes up in the report 40 times, and the word “Atlanta” is found 25 times.

Among the Georgia-related findings are additional details about former U.S. Attorney Byung “BJay” Pak’s forced resignation. Trump bypassed the customary line of succession, appointing Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine to fill the vacancy instead of Pak’s first assistant U.S. attorney, Kurt Erskine.

Richard Donoghue, who served as acting U.S. deputy attorney general during the final weeks of Trump’s tenure, told investigators that Trump appeared to believe that Christine would be more willing to investigate his claims of election fraud.

“If he’s good, he’ll find out if there’s something there,” Donoghue remembers Trump telling him.


Draft materials released by the White House Supreme Court Commission indicated its members are more amenable to term limits for justices than they are to increasing the number of justices.

That doesn’t go far enough for Georgia U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, who serves as chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. He and three other Democrats released a statement saying the draft “missed the mark.”

“The GOP’s rigged bench is contorting our laws and issuing decisions that do not reflect, understand, or serve the people the Court is meant to represent,” the lawmakers said in a news release.

Johnson is supporting a Democratic bill to expand the court from nine to 13 justices. The commission will meet today starting at 10 a.m., and you can stream it here.


Senate Leader Chuck Schumer said there will be a vote next week on the compromise election bill Democrats have introduced.

That legislation would create national standards for elections and voting and reflects changes suggested by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin in hopes of winning enough Republican support to overcome the filibuster.

But a read of a statement from GOP Leader Mitch McConnell Thursday evening makes us wonder if that will happen:

“Senator Schumer wants to stage another political stunt around the umpteenth iteration of the same partisan power grab that the Senate has already considered and rejected repeatedly. It is the same rotten core as Speaker Pelosi’s H.R. 1 with slightly amended window dressing. Democrats call this latest repackaging a ‘compromise,’ but it’s only a compromise among themselves.”


An eagle-eyed tipster flagged this quote for us from a district staffer with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s office, who had a warning for Floyd County Commissioners recently at a public meeting about an outside review of the local election board.

From the Rome News Tribune:

“Let's start putting trust in our legislation that's being passed and putting trust into our elections," Justin Kelly said. He then threatened to work politically against commissioners who didn't vote for the state review.

“If something is not done about this, I will take a personal interest in each of your elections going forward," he said. “I will find someone to run against you and I will help fundraise for them to replace you."

- Rome News-Tribune


If you’ve ever gotten stuck in traffic on the road between Atlanta and Athens, U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff has an idea for you.

According to the Athens Banner-Herald, the Democrat from Atlanta is trying to slip $10 billion for high-speed rail into the trillion-dollar reconciliation bill being negotiated by Democrats.

The preferred line for federal planners would connect Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C. --with a stop in Athens.


Sad news from Savannah, where Ed Feiler has passed away at the age 86. Feiler was a fixture in Savannah leadership and political circles, and founded Leadership Savannah.

The Savannah Morning News leads its Friday news with Feiler’s obituary.


Heading into the weekend, we always like to send you off with a little light reading, including:


As always, Jolt readers are some of our favorite tipsters. Send your best scoop, gossip and insider info to, and

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