AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – With less than a month until the Jan. 5 Senate runoff election in Georgia, the president paid a visit to the Peach State, some of the candidates faced off in a debate and state officials defended the election process.
Here’s a look at some of the latest developments:
Trump visits Valdosta
President Donald Trump hit the campaign trail to stump for votes for Republican incumbent Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
Trump held a rally Saturday night in in Valdosta, urging voters to go to the polls so Perdue and Loeffler can help keep the U.S. Senate under GOP control.
“I’m telling you they are two of the finest people you’ll ever meet. We can fight for the presidency and fight to elect our two great senators. We can do it at the same time. We’re doing it at the same time,” Trump said.
But Trump’s own election results were a major focus at the rally.
He continued to make unsubstantiated claims that the presidential election was stolen away from him, including in Georgia.
He criticized Republican leaders in the state for not doing enough to overthrow election results in that show Democrat Joe Biden won.
“They don’t love our country, they beat you down, shut you up, and make you retreat. That’s what they do, that’s what they’ve done to your governor, they’ve done that to your governor. Your governor should be ashamed of himself. That’s what they want to do here in Georgia” Trump said.
State officials find no fraud
The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office is set to recertify election results today.
Once it’s done, that means the election is legally over in the Peach State. While challenges against results have until tomorrow to be resolved, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says officials have not found any instances of voter fraud.
“We reached out to the governor and asked for additional manpower resources that gives us additional reach to finish up these investigations quickly, but right now we don’t see anything that would overturn the will of the people here in Georgia,” Raffensperger said.
Raffensperger did announce on Friday that Gov. Brian Kemp agreed to his request for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to assist in ongoing investigations related to the 2020 general election.
Meanwhile, four Republican state senators have launched a petition to force Kemp to call lawmakers together so they could appoint 16 presidential electors who will support Trump instead of Democratic president-elect Joe Biden.
Kemp issued a joint statement Sunday with Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, saying it would violate state law for the General Assembly to name electors. They continued by saying the judicial system remains the only viable and the quickest option in disputing the results of the Nov. 3 election in Georgia.
Current state law calls for the governor to certify electors after results are certified.
Trump on Saturday pushed Kemp to call a special session, but Kemp refused.
A heated debate between Loeffler, Warnock
On Sunday, candidates for the two Senate seats from Georgia took to the debate stage in Atlanta.
In one forum, Warnock traded jabs back and forth with Loeffler over several key issues.
Warnock said he does not support defunding police and attacked Loeffler, saying she was playing games with the election instead of focusing on Georgia.
Loeffler refused to acknowledge that Trump lost last month’s election, saying the president has every right to an investigation.
“I’ve called for investigations, and now there’s 250 investigations open here in Georgia. But the president was clear that Georgians need to come out and vote for David Perdue and myself because of what’s in stake in this election,” Loeffler said.
Warnock said: “Kelly Loeffler continues to cast doubt on an American democratic election. It’s time to put this behind us and get focused on the concerns of ordinary people.”
Both candidates tangled over their agendas and stuck to their messages, later discussing the challenges of Trump’s contentious claims of a rigged election.
“It’s very clear that there were issues in this election. There are 250 investigations open, including an investigation into one of my opponents’ organizations, you know, for voter fraud. And we have to make sure that Georgians trust this process because of what’s at stake in this election,” Warnock said.
Loeffler said: “You know, President Trump every right to use every legal recourse available. In our own state, we’ve seen time and time again that we have investigations that need to be completed. We need to hold folks accountable involved in these investigations to make sure they move more quickly because everything’s at stake on Jan. 5 for the future of our country.”
In another forum, Ossoff faced an empty podium after Perdue declined to participate.
Ossof threw jabs at Perdue, saying he didn’t come because he was afraid that he may incriminate himself if he decided to participate in the debate.
“The reason that our country has lagged the entire world at the efficacy at our response to this virus, the reason that we are losing thousands of people per day to this virus is because of the arrogances of politicians like David Perdue. So arrogant, that he disregarded public health expertise and so arrogant that he’s not with us here today to answer questions,” Ossoff said.
Ossoff continued by saying Perdue feels entitled to Georgians’ votes.
“David Perdue has been getting rich in office, and instead of taking public health expertise and guidance from the CDC and getting that to the people and implementing policy, he was buying up shares in manufacturers of vaccines and medical equipment,” Ossoff said.
Ossoff continued by discussing the need for financial relief for all Americans.
Voter registration deadline is here
Today is the last day to register to vote for the Jan. 5 runoff.
You can do that online at https://georgia.gov/register-to-vote.
If you already registered for the Nov. 3 election, you do not have to register again.
You can already request an absentee ballot and turn those back in.
If you don’t want to mail it in, Richmond County voters can return theirs at these secure drop boxes:
- Augusta-Richmond County Municipal Building, 535 Telfair St.
- Robert Howard Community Center at Diamond Lakes Regional Park, 103 Diamond Lakes Way
- Henry Brigham Community Center, 2463 Golden Camp Road
- Warren Road Recreation Center, 300 Warren Road
- Augusta Service Center, 3463 Peach Orchard Road
Advance in-person voting starts Dec. 14.
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