The Jolt: The next move -- a second Georgia recount -- is up to Donald Trump

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, in Atlanta. Georgia’s top elections official said he will certify that Joe Biden won the state's presidential election after a hand tally stemming from a mandatory audit affirmed the Democrat's lead over Republican President Donald Trump.  Raffensperger said during the news conference Friday that he believes the numbers his office has presented are correct. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, in Atlanta. Georgia’s top elections official said he will certify that Joe Biden won the state's presidential election after a hand tally stemming from a mandatory audit affirmed the Democrat's lead over Republican President Donald Trump. Raffensperger said during the news conference Friday that he believes the numbers his office has presented are correct. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Credit: Brynn Anderson

Credit: Brynn Anderson

Seventeen days later, Nov. 3 is about to come to an end. From our AJC colleague Mark Niesse:

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said “numbers don’t lie” as he plans to certify Georgia’s election results Friday that showed Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump.

Biden was ahead of Trump by over 12,000 votes in both machine counts and a manual recount of paper ballots.

“Like other Republicans, I’m disappointed our candidate didn’t win,” Raffensperger said during a news conference at the state Capitol. “Working as an engineer throughout my life, I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie. As secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct. The numbers reflect the verdict of the people.”

-

Raffensperger’s comments came during an 8 a.m. press conference that was actually a prequel to official certification. President Donald Trump will have two business days – i.e., until Tuesday – to request a recount.

But under state law, it won’t be the hand recount that we just saw completed. It will be a rescanning of returns that would be finished well before the Dec. 14 deadline for electoral college votes.

***

The New York Times has now weighed in on news broken by the Daily Beast a day earlier:

Senator David Perdue, one of two Republican senators from Georgia facing runoff elections in January, began making large and ultimately profitable purchases of shares in a Navy contractor in 2018 just before taking over as chair of a Senate subcommittee overseeing the Navy fleet.

… Mr. Perdue, a millionaire and formerly a prolific trader of individual stocks, announced in May that he would divest from his large individual stock holdings after questions were raised about his well-timed purchases of Pfizer stock in February, after senators were briefed on the coronavirus threat.

“Senator Perdue doesn’t manage his trades, they are handled by outside financial advisors without his prior input or approval,” a spokeswoman for Mr. Perdue said in response to the report about Mr. Perdue’s trades in shares of the Navy contractor, BWX Technologies.

-

***

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., has tested positive for coronavirus, he announced today, after going into quarantine on Saturday. Scott has been isolating at his home in Naples since he was exposed to the disease last Friday.

That was the same day that Scott, 67, was in Forsyth County, stumping with Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. But Scott said his COVID-19 contact came after he had returned home.

Scott has already missed several votes of consequence. On Tuesday, Republicans couldn’t muster the votes necessary to confirm Trump’s nominee to the federal reserve, Judy Shelton. U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is also sidelined with COVID-19.

This from the Perdue campaign: “Out of an abundance of caution, Senator Perdue and his wife receive COVID-19 tests frequently -- including this morning, which were negative.”

Loeffler’s campaign spokesman said she also tested negative this morning after taking two different types of coronavirus tests — both rapid and PCR.

***

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., is engaged in a Twitter duel with U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

AOC apparently fired first, riffing on a report that Loeffler might have enjoyed a tax break when purchasing her transportation for her election campaign:

@KLoeffler disclosures show you seem to have gifted yourself [a] private jet on public dime & exploited corrupt tax loopholes to do it.

If you’re happy helping yourself to public funds, maybe take a seat before arguing against stimulus checks to help everyday people in a pandemic.

-

The reply from Loeffler:

Not surprising you’d babble some blatant lie to distract from your socialist shutdown.

Anyway, while we’re on the subject, Georgians don’t want any of your $93 trillion tax increase. Also, have you paid your own?

-

The Georgia senator helpfully included a link to a 2019 New York Post report indicating AOC was delinquent on a tax bill.

***

U.S. Rep.-elect Nikema Williams, D-Atlanta, was selected by her peers to serve as president of this year’s freshman class of Democrats. The role is largely symbolic, but will boost her profile among the new members and give her a seat at the table with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders. More here about what Georgia’s four newest U.S. House members have been up to.

***

Verzuz “battles,” livestreamed music events that have featured competitions between popular Black musicians, have become one of the cultural phenomena of the coronavirus pandemic. These events draw millions of live viewers and often boost participating artists to the top of the charts. Verzuz also has occasionally injected a political element.

Kamala Harris popped into a late summer show to encourage voter participation. The latest event was held Thursday night at Atlanta’s Magic City and featured rappers Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy. And this time, the featured political figure was Stacey Abrams, who encouraged Georgia viewers to participate in the upcoming Senate runoffs.

“Thank you for giving me some street cred with my nieces and nephews,” said Abrams, who appeared by video and chatted briefly with the artists. “For right now, we can at least make sure that everyone shows up to vote so we have two senators to make sure we have COVID response and we’ve got stimulus money coming back to Georgia.”

***

Just announced: U.S. Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa will campaign with U.S. Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in Spalding County on Monday.

***

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy hosted a fundraiser via Zoom for Loeffler and Perdue on Thursday that raised nearly $3 million in a half-hour, Politico reports. Participants included more than 60 House members and the featured speaker was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

***

An interesting deep-in-the-weeds development noted by Adweek:

A new ad hoc group called Creatives For Georgia has signed on more than 850 industry professionals. The initial goal is to create a massive digital content production line in support of the Democratic candidates in each of the races, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. The group has reached out to each of the candidate’s campaigns as well as on-the-ground activist groups, voting rights advocates and party orgs to coordinate on messaging.

-

***

Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock is staffing up. His campaign announced Friday it hired Meredith Lilly, Erica Pines, T.J. Copeland, Phillana Williams and Lawrence Bell.

In Other News