Republicans back fake elector for state Senate

Republican supporters clap as they hear the voice of President Donald Trump during a Republican rally in the parking lot at the Georgia Republican Party headquarters in Atlanta’s Buckhead community, Thursday, November 5, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

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Republican supporters clap as they hear the voice of President Donald Trump during a Republican rally in the parking lot at the Georgia Republican Party headquarters in Atlanta’s Buckhead community, Thursday, November 5, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Shawn Still tried to award Georgia’s electoral votes to Trump

A phony elector who participated in an effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election is a leading candidate for the state Senate, embraced by Republican lawmakers and candidates since winning the primary election in May.

Shawn Still, the GOP nominee for a Senate district north of Atlanta, was the secretary for a group of 16 Republicans who met behind closed doors in the Georgia Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, to cast the state’s votes for Donald Trump and signed their names to a document claiming that they were “duly elected and qualified electors.”

Still and the other fake electors are now targets of a criminal investigation, with the exception of state Sen. Burt Jones, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor. A judge disqualified the Fulton County district attorney from investigating Jones last month. Different prosecutors will eventually be appointed to determine whether to pursue Jones.

Their attempt to award Georgia’s presidential votes to Trump failed. Congress accepted Georgia’s 16 electoral votes for president after three ballot counts showed Democrat Joe Biden had won the state.

Rather than shun Still, Republicans are working to ensure he wins election in November against Democrat Josh Uddin.

Citizens for a Greater Georgia, a fundraising committee run by Republican state Senate leaders, recently named Still to its “target list” of candidates it will most strongly support.

And last year, the Georgia General Assembly redrew the boundaries of the district where Still is running so that it favors electing a Republican. The district now covers conservative parts of Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett counties.

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Shawn Still is a Republican candidate for Georgia Senate District 48, which covers parts of Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. Still was one of 16 Republicans who signed a document that attempted to award Georgia's electoral votes to Donald Trump.

Credit: Shawn Still for state Senate

Shawn Still is a Republican candidate for Georgia Senate District 48, which covers parts of Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. Still was one of 16 Republicans who signed a document that attempted to award Georgia's electoral votes to Donald Trump.

Credit: Shawn Still for state Senate

Combined ShapeCaption
Shawn Still is a Republican candidate for Georgia Senate District 48, which covers parts of Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. Still was one of 16 Republicans who signed a document that attempted to award Georgia's electoral votes to Donald Trump.

Credit: Shawn Still for state Senate

Credit: Shawn Still for state Senate

Still, the president of a pool contracting company, didn’t return phone and email messages seeking comment. He doesn’t mention his attempt to give Georgia’s votes to Trump on his website, which highlights proposals to require more voter ID and ban nighttime use of ballot drop boxes — ideas that were already included in Georgia’s Republican-sponsored voting law passed last year.

Uddin said voters are worried that a sham elector could become their state senator.

“Unlike my opponent, I don’t support taking away voters’ voice and choice,” said Uddin, who operates an insurance agency and previously ran for the Senate two years ago. “Voters will not trust someone who has this kind of intention. Voters are very concerned.”

But Still’s defenders say they support him because he’s a Republican candidate who could help solidify the GOP’s 34-22 majority in the Senate.

“You can always Monday morning quarterback everything that any of us do. It’s a lot easier, a year and a half later, to look back and have a bigger picture of what happened,” said state Sen. Steve Gooch, a Republican from Dahlonega who serves as majority whip and a board member of Citizens for a Greater Georgia. “He did what he thought was right at the time.”

Gooch said many Republicans doubted the results of the presidential election and worried about fraud, but investigators and election officials said their claims were meritless. Repeated investigations and court cases discredited allegations of wrongdoing.

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Josh Uddin is a Democrat running for Georgia Senate District 48, which includes parts of Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett counties.

Credit: Josh Uddin for Georgia Senate

Josh Uddin is a Democrat running for Georgia Senate District 48, which includes parts of Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett counties.

Credit: Josh Uddin for Georgia Senate

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Josh Uddin is a Democrat running for Georgia Senate District 48, which includes parts of Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett counties.

Credit: Josh Uddin for Georgia Senate

Credit: Josh Uddin for Georgia Senate

Still has been involved in attempts to undermine the presidential election since late 2020. Besides signing his name to a list of fake electors, Still also sued to decertify all of Georgia’s presidential election results based on allegations of problems with voting equipment in South Georgia’s Coffee County.

Coffee County went for Trump in the 2020 election.

A Trump attorney who represented Still voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit three weeks after it was filed. Subpoenas filed in an unrelated case in June are seeking evidence of whether election conspiracy theorists gained access to Coffee County’s voting equipment in their search for irregularities.

Other Republican candidates and elected officials are campaigning with Still, despite his involvement in attempts to invalidate the presidential election.

“That was really not in my mind at all,” said Liz Hausmann, a Fulton County commissioner who raised money with Still during a reception in April. “While what they did that day may be viewed by some as some sort of conspiracy, they were following some legal advice that they were given. There was a lot of uncertainty going on at the time.”

Besides Still and Jones, several other fake electors are entrenched in Republican politics, though they aren’t running for office. They include Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer and members of the party’s leadership, such as Vikki Townsend Consiglio, whom Gov. Brian Kemp recently reappointed to the State Soil and Water Conservation Commission. Consiglio is the party’s assistant treasurer.

Across the country, there are six fake electors running for office in Arizona, Georgia and Michigan, according to Defend Democracy Project, a Washington-based voting rights advocacy organization.

State Sen. Michelle Au, a Democrat who currently represents the district where Still is running, said his nomination isn’t surprising from Trump supporters who claim to want to “Make America Great Again.”

“Let’s be clear on what we’re seeing: MAGA loyalists control the Georgia GOP establishment, and Senate District 48 was politically gerrymandered to install a MAGA operative,” said Au, who is running for the state House this year because Republicans redrew her Senate district lines to hurt her chances for reelection. “Their protracted and concerted plan to undermine our democracy and voting rights continues to bear poisonous fruit.”