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At stake is control of a state GOP infrastructure that will coordinate how the party will spend millions of dollars and chart out strategy in the 2022 elections, when Gov. Brian Kemp and every other statewide constitutional official will be on the ballot, along with newly elected Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.
The fractious but powerful state GOP organization is coming off a record-breaking fundraising cycle – and disastrous defeats – after the runoffs ended with the ousters of Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in races dominated by Trump’s efforts to reverse his loss in Georgia.
Shafer, a former state senator who lost a 2018 bid for lieutenant governor, endorsed Trump’s sham narrative of widespread voting fraud in Georgia and filed a lawsuit alleging the improper counting of ballots.
He also engineered a vote of a shadow slate of GOP electors on the same day Democrats formally approved the state’s 16 electoral votes for President Joe Biden. And in February, he and other state GOP officials approved a lengthy list of recommendations to limit voting.
There was no evidence of systemic voting fraud in Georgia in the 2020 election, and state and federal officials repeatedly debunked the false narratives Trump and his allies promoted following his defeat. Courts at every level dismissed challenges brought by Trump’s campaign and its supporters.
Trump’s endorsement of Shafer is yet another sign of the former president’s near-obsession with Georgia politics -- and his fury at state GOP officials he blames for his narrow defeat.
He has vowed to back a primary challenger against Kemp, encouraged Georgia football legend Herschel Walker to run for U.S. Senate, and this week endorsed U.S. Rep. Jody Hice’s challenge against fellow Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.