The Jolt: The conspiracy that could hurt Loeffler, Perdue on Election Day

Collins, COVID, recounts lead the day

Washington-based lawyer Sidney Powell was introduced last week as a member of President Donald Trump’s “elite strike force” on a mission to reveal widespread fraud in the 2020 election, including in Georgia.

But by Sunday afternoon, Rudy Giuliani announced that Powell is “not a member of the Trump legal team.”

The road to demise came straight through Georgia for Powell - and could mean trouble for Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, both up for reelection in the Jan. 5th runoff and both in need of Trump supporters’ votes to win.

On Saturday, Powell told Newsmax TV without evidence that, among other supposedly suspicious events, Rep. Doug Collins was likely the victim of election fraud in his contest against Loeffler. This, Powell said, came at the hands of Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger

“Georgia’s probably going to be the first state I’m gonna blow up,” Powell told Mark Halperin on Newsmax. “We don’t know who bought their election. I’m sure it crosses party lines. I’m reasonably certain John James was ripped out of his seat, and he was entitled to have won that election by the real vote, and the same thing is true for Doug Collins in Georgia.”

Powell endorsed Collins in his run against Loeffler and Collins is now also an active member of the Trump legal team questioning Georgia’s vote count.

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie told ABC News that Powell’s claims are “outrageous conduct by any lawyer” and called the overall Trump legal strategy to overturn the election results “a national embarrassment.”

Not only that, the claim also puts Loeffler and Perdue in the incredibly tight spot of having to back the Trump legal team’s recent call for a recount in Georgia, which both did on Sunday, even when one member of that legal team was suggesting that Loeffler’s election could be suspect, too.

The worry for Republicans, of course, is that attacking not only the voting system, but also one of the Republicans on the ballot, will turn off Trump’s most loyal followers from voting in January.

Collins has endorsed Loeffler but did not return a text message about Powell’s latest allegations.

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File under: Not helpful. Prominent conservative attorney Lin Wood, whose legal attempt to halt the certification of election results in Georgia was dismissed by a judge last week, is saying he might sit out the runoff because he doesn’t think Loeffler and Perdue are doing enough to back Trump.

“Let’s speak truth about @SenLoeffler & @sendavidperdue,” Wood wrote on Twitter. “Why are they doing little or nothing to support efforts by GA citizens to address unlawful election & need for @BrianKempGA to order special session of legislature? If not fixed, I will NOT vote in GA runoff. Will you?”

Let’s be clear: even if the GOP-led General Assembly came back for a special session, new legislation wouldn’t change how general election votes were counted. The bigger concern is whether Wood and folks like him will depress conservative turnout in the Jan. 5 runoff.

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Making the case that elections in Georgia can be trusted is usually a job done here in Georgia. But on Saturday, Raffensperger penned an op-ed in the Washington Post, ostensibly for the benefit of lawmakers in Congress and the Trump White House, explaining the many steps the state went through to get to a reliable and accurate count.

And if you’re one of the many Democrats calling Raff a hero for standing behind the election that turned Georgia blue at the top of the ticket, he added a note sure to quiet the budding Democrats-for-Raff movement, when he took aim at 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams:

“Disinformation about the reliability and security of Georgia's voting machines had been percolating since 2018 — long before we even selected a system. A failed gubernatorial candidate refused to accept the outcome of an election she lost by 50,000 votes — and is praised for it by media pundits to this day, even as they attack a presidential candidate for running the same playbook."

- The Washington Post

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We already know the Senate races will be a nationalized effort. Lynn Sweet, the Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times, flagged on Twitter an upcoming fundraiser by Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot for Ossoff and Warnock. Unlike fundraisers pre-COVID, fundraising these days requires no travel for donors or donees. This one’s on Zoom Dec. 3rd.

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POSTED: The AJC reports this morning that the State Election Board approved two emergency election rules for the Jan. 5th runoffs, but did not consider a proposal to let election officials review “all available evidence” to make sure recent transplants to Georgia are truly new residents and not just here to vote and leave, which is a felony.

Since counties already have that authority, the general counsel for Raffensperger’s office determined no new rule would be necessary.

The topic came up because of Republican anxiety that liberal activists could flood the state before the runoff in an attempt to register to vote and sway the election to Democrats.

While Democrat Andrew Yang did indeed announce he would move his family to Georgia to campaign for Ossoff and Warnock (but not vote), the Republican National Committee has also shared that it intends to send more than 600 of its own staff for the effort.

The message to all: You can come to help, but your vote stays at home.

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Reviving the fortunes of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control will be at the top of the incoming Biden administration’s COVID strategies, reports Politico this morning.

“There’s a lot of focus on how much the career people at CDC have been completely undermined and diminished,” a person close to Biden said. “Our job is not just their empowerment, but their integration in the development of policy and implementation of policy.”

Look for Nancy Messonnier, the CDC’s respiratory disease chief, and Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s principal deputy director, to take much more visible roles in COVID messaging after being sidelined by the Trump administration.

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Kelly Loeffler may, or may not have COVID-19. The Georgia senator said she will continue to self-isolate even though her most recent test on Sunday came back negative. This was a retest of an earlier specimen that first provided an inconclusive result. And that was after her first test came back positive late Friday although she also received a negative rapid result on the same day. Loeffler is hoping two consecutive negative tests will provide the green light she needs to resume campaigning.

Loeffler was not wearing a mask during events in North Georgia with Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Sen. David Perdue and other GOP officials. She also campaigned with Perdue and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton on Thursday.

On CNN’s New Day, Ossoff called on both Republican senators to require masks at their campaign events. “We need to set the tone here in Georgia,” he said, of Loeffler and Perdue, who often hold events indoors and do not require mask wearing. “They need to lead by example.”

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On the trail:

-Joe Biden’s new chief of staff said that the president-elect is likely to visit Georgia in the coming weeks to campaign for Ossoff and Warnock. But nothing is final yet.

-U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, will campaign with David Perdue in Spalding County this afternoon.

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Another runoff race to watch: the Dec. 1 contest for district attorney in Clarke and Oconee counties. Democrats are hoping that their candidate, Deborah Gonzalez, will prevail and mark their sixth flip of a top prosecutor’s office statewide. (The others are Gwinnett, Cobb, Douglas, Richmond, and Chatham counties.)

Gonzalez, a former state legislator, faces non-partisan candidate James Chafin, a former deputy chief assistant district attorney. Early voting in that race began today.

This DA race was almost knocked off the ballot by a loophole that would have allowed Gov. Brian Kemp to keep an interim leader in place for a couple of years, but Gonzalez sued and the Georgia Supreme Court agreed the special election should proceed.

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Your Insiders are taking off Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week. The Jolt will return on Monday. Happy Thanksgiving!

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