2020 presidential election at the center of Republican primary for Georgia Secretary of State

Image of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia.

Four candidates are running in the Republican primary for Georgia Secretary of State on May 24, 2022. Incumbent Brad Raffensperger and Jody Hice have performed best in polling. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will compete in a runoff election.

Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Hice on March 22, 2021. In his endorsement, Trump said, “Unlike the current Georgia Secretary of State, Jody leads out front with integrity. I have 100% confidence in Jody to fight for Free, Fair, and Secure Elections in Georgia, in line with our beloved U.S. Constitution. Jody will stop the Fraud and get honesty into our Elections!” Joseph Ax of Reuters wrote that Raffensperger “has been one of Trump’s most frequent targets ever since he refused, emphatically and publicly, to capitulate to the demands of the former president, his fellow Republican, to ‘find’ enough votes to overturn the results in Georgia’s 2020 presidential vote.”

Raffensperger was elected as Secretary of State in 2018. Raffensperger has disputed Trump’s claims about election fraud in 2020 and directly criticized Hice over those claims. During a January 2022 appearance on CBS’ Face The Nation, Raffensperger said, “Congressman Hice, he’s been in Congress for several years. He’s never done a single piece of election reform legislation. Then he certified his own race with those same machines, the same ballots, and yet for President Trump, he said you couldn’t trust that.” Raffensperger’s website highlighted a #1 ranking in election integrity from the Heritage Foundation as an example of his leadership and conservative values.

Hice was elected to the U.S. House in 2014. Hice has supported Trump’s claims about election fraud in 2020. At a May 2022 debate, he said, “The ‘big lie’ in all of this is that there were no problems with this past election. This past election was an absolute disaster under the leadership of Brad Raffensperger.” Hice objected to the counting of Georgia’s electoral votes during the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021. Hice said he would “aggressively pursue voter fraud” and would seek to make final election results available on election night.

The Secretary of State is responsible for a wide range of services and regulatory duties, in addition to being the keeper of the Great Seal of Georgia and the custodian of the state flag and other state symbols. The secretary of state also chairs the Claims Advisory Board, which receives, investigates, and hears civil claims against the state. Responsibilities of the secretary’s office include supervising and monitoring elections and providing campaign finance disclosure, managing and preserving public records, and licensing, monitoring, and registering professionals and businesses.

Also running in the primary are Torri M. Hudson and David Belle Isle.

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