The Jolt: Ivanka Trump: Too many Georgians ‘feel their vote has been canceled’

COVID relief, ‘Stop the Steal,’ and a ‘Hot mess’ lead the day

The crucial Senate runoffs are just two weeks away, but Georgia’s top Republicans are still having to talk about the last election, mostly because President Donald Trump refuses to concede the race.

When Ivanka Trump headed to the upscale Atlanta suburb of Milton Monday to headline a rally for Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, she listed reams of policies that she said Perdue and Loeffler had supported in D.C..

But her biggest applause lines came when she talked about Trump as “the voice for the voiceless” and added, “Far too many Americans and Georgians feel that their voice has been silenced and that that their vote has been canceled.”

Earlier, Loeffler had to divert from her usual talking points when chants of “Fight for Trump” rose up over her speech about the American dream. “That’s right. The President fought for us. We’re gonna fight for him right here in Georgia,” Loeffler said.

Likewise, Perdue spoke over calls to, “Stop the Steal!”

“I’m still fighting alongside of (the president) to make sure he finally gets a fair accounting in this state,” Perdue said.

At a rally in Monroe later in the day, Gov. Brian Kemp spoke over a raucous set of boo’s and “Fight for Trump!”

“Let me tell you something about Donald Trump,” Kemp responded. “There is no one in this state that has worked as hard for Donald Trump. I have supported his efforts post-election, but I also will continue to follow the laws and the Constitution in this state and I will never deviate from that.”

He added: “If you believe in freedom, if you believe in the Constitution in this country, in this state, you better help send David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler back to the United States Senate. Because that is what’s at stake in this election. We can disagree on a lot of things, but we all agree on this.”

Every party has its hardcore rabble rousers. The question for Georgia Republicans over the next six months is whether that energy gets focused on Democrats or whether the firing line remains circular.


“Georgia is a hot mess and no opinion pollster could possibly say what will happen when votes are counted.”

Those are the first words in a SurveyUSA poll of the Georgia Senate runoffs conducted for WXIA that shows Democrat Jon Ossoff with a 51-46 edge over Sen. David Perdue and Raphael Warnock with a 52-45 advantage over Sen. Kelly Loeffler.

To be clear: None of the senior strategists in Georgia believe the divide is that big, and most internal polls show the races deadlocked. But it’s exceedingly hard to poll a runoff electorate even in normal conditions - and harder when the election is staggered over a holiday break with control of the Senate on the line.

We are more interested in the 78 respondents (of 691 registered voters) who said they aren’t likely to vote at all. About a third said they will be staying home because they believed the process is rigged, their vote doesn’t matter or they are intentionally boycotting. Of that group, 39 said, if they had to vote, they would vote Republican.


Every member of Georgia’s congressional delegation except U.S. Rep. Jody Hice voted in favor of the latest round of coronavirus stimulus. U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who have been working to counter criticism from Democrats that they had not done enough to push for more stimulus, also voted yes.

Republican leaders had worried that the lack of a deal was hurting Perdue and Loeffler in their runoff campaigns, which became another catalyst for the 11th-hour negotiations.

President Donald Trump is expected to quickly sign the $908 billion relief package, which is part of an omnibus federal spending bill that funds the government for the rest of this fiscal year, through September.


Vice president-elect Kamala Harris visited Columbus Monday, on the heels of Vice President Mike Pence’s trip there last week and U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw’s (R-Tex.) trip over the weekend.

Nick Wooten of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer notes one reason Muscogee County could be getting so much attention lately. It’s one of the places where President-elect Joe Biden meaningfully outpaced Jon Ossoff:

Democrats outside of the presidential race did not perform as well as Biden (here). The president-elect defeated Trump by about 19,500 votes in Muscogee County. Ossoff, however, carried Columbus by a little more than 17,000. There were nearly 131,000 registered voters ahead of the November election, and a little over 61% turned out, according to data from the Georgia Secretary of State's office and the Muscogee County elections board.

- Columbus Ledger-Enquirer


Runoff redux? Savannah Morning News Editorial Page Editor Adam Van Brimmer raises this possibility about the 2022 governor’s race in Georgia and why it, too, could go to a runoff like both of this year’s Senate elections.

The reason is named Shane Hazel, the Libertarian who ran against Perdue and Ossoff in November.

Shane Hazel garnered 115,039 votes, or 2.32%, in the U.S. Senate race. Perdue, the top vote getter, fell 13,471 votes shy of the needed majority (50% plus one vote) to win that election without a runoff.

Remember, Kemp avoided a runoff with Abrams in 2018 by just 8,743 votes. The Libertarian in that race, Ted Metz, received only 37,235 votes, or 0.95%.

Assuming Hazel will attract more voters in 2022 than Metz did in 2018 -- probably significantly more, as Hazel is much more charismatic -- Hazel could be the spoiler again.

- Savannah Morning News

File this under “recurring dream” or “recurring nightmare,” depending on your fondness for political drama in Georgia.


Last week, U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue sent out a statement urging the Atlanta Braves not to “cave to the demands of the cancel culture and the radical left” by changing their name in the way the Cleveland Indians are planning.

Now U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler is following up with a demand that Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock do the same.

The Senate Democratic candidates haven’t weighed in on the issue, which appears to be a moot point. Our AJC colleagues reported days ago that the Braves remain committed to their team name, though they may sideline the Tomahawk Chop.


Former U.S. Sens. Bob Dole, Johnny Isakson and Mack Mattingly wrote an open letter encouraging military veterans to vote for fellow Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the Jan. 5 runoff.

“What is at stake now is far greater than politics, the political screaming of media cycles, and uncontrolled ‘infighting,’” the letter read. “What is at stake is the balance of judgement in our Government.”


Georgia Rep. Jody Hice and Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene were among several conservative Republicans who met Monday with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Both Georgians later confirmed they will attempt to prevent Congress from accepting Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. CNN reports that the White House visits were strategy sessions focused on how these lawmakers can most effectively hold things up on Jan. 6, although it is unclear if it would work.

Democrats are in the majority in the House, and the Senate’s Republican leaders have said they will not tolerate challenges to Biden’s victory in that chamber either. That won’t deter Greene, Hice and other Trump allies from trying, based on unproven claims the election was stolen from the incumbent.

“Big meeting today with @realDonaldTrump, @VP, the President’s legal team, @freedomcaucus and other Members of Congress,” Hice wrote on Twitter. “I will lead an objection to Georgia’s electors on Jan 6. The courts refuse to hear the President’s legal case. We’re going to make sure the People can!”

Greene later made a similar statement.

“I will stand with fellow Patriots on January 6th and OBJECT and REJECT fraudulent electoral ballots,” she wrote. “There’s too many abnormalities. Too much evidence of voter fraud.”

As for Georgia’s two U.S. senators: Kelly Loeffler won’t say whether she will join the challenge, while David Perdue can’t do so — his term expires Jan. 3 and he can’t conduct Senate business until the results are certified — but he’s telling supporters he will.


If President Donald Trump follows through on his promise to veto the National Defense Authorization Act, the U.S. House has scheduled a Monday session for an override vote. The Senate would meet the day after.

The bill, which has a six-decade track record of being signed into law, outlines policies and funding for the Armed Services and includes all 13 of Georgia’s military installations, as well as a pay raise for troops. But it also contains a controversial provision that will begin the process of renaming bases named after Confederate leaders, including two in Georgia.


Finally, we’re happy to report that Martha Zoller is getting back to work at WDUN. She’s also penned a column about her health scare and the clarity that several weeks off the grid will give a person. “This is the greatest country in the world and I am thankful to still be here.” We are thankful you’re still here, too.