President Donald Trump tweeted an endorsement in the Georgia secretary of state race on Monday, urging voters to choose Republican Brad Raffensperger.
Raffensperger is facing Democrat John Barrow, a former U.S. representative, in a runoff for the seat vacated by Governor-elect Brian Kemp (R.), whom Trump also supported. Neither candidate reached 50 percent of the vote in the general election, with Raffensperger getting a slim plurality.
"Brad Raffensperger will be a fantastic Secretary of State for Georgia – will work closely with @BrianKempGA," Trump tweeted. "It is really important that you get out and vote for Brad – early voting starts today, election is on December 4th. @VoteBradRaff is tough on Crime and Borders, Loves our Military and Vets. He will be great for jobs!"
Raffensperger, a state representative, has criticized his opponent as being against voter ID laws and promised to consistently update state voter rolls.
Barrow touted his bipartisan credentials in the run-up to the election, arguing he frequently crossed party lines in Congress and would protect taxpayer dollars if elected. In one ad, he said, "Yeah, I'm a Democrat, but I won't bite you."
Kemp's position as secretary of state came under intense scrutiny during his gubernatorial race against Democrat Stacey Abrams. She repeatedly charged Kemp with voter suppression efforts, including blaming him for precinct closings and accusing him of systematically disenfranchising Georgians through so-called "purges."
She did not concede the race until 10 days after the election when it was clear she couldn't force Kemp to a runoff, but she said it was not a true concession speech since she did not consider Kemp's victory to be legitimate. She later said the election was neither free nor fair. Kemp did not return fire, telling the Washington Free Beacon "what Ms. Abrams does from here on out is her business."
Kemp's defenders, such as National Review‘s David French, pointed to high voter turnout in the race, the purges of voter registrations simply being an enforcement of a Democrat-passed "Use It or Lose It" law, and the charge that Kemp oversaw his own victory as silly: secretaries of state certify results but voting precincts are run by local officials.