The Slatest

RNC Chair Struggles to Energize Georgia Republicans to Vote in Runoffs They See as Rigged

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel speaks during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters on November 9, 2020 in Washington, D.C.
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel speaks during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters on November 9, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Republicans in Georgia have been expressing concerns over the past few weeks that President Donald Trump’s baseless insistence that the election was marred by fraud could affect turnout in the two Senate runoffs in the state. And Saturday seemed to provide some evidence for that when Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel faced some pushback from skeptical voters at an event in Marietta, Georgia who questioned whether it wasn’t pointless to get involved in the process. One voter specifically asked McDaniel why they should bother to put in more “money and work when it’s already decided.” McDaniel insisted that “it’s not decided” but said that not turning out could be a deciding factor. “So if you lose your faith and you don’t vote and people walk away—that will decide it,” McDaniel said.

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Trump has tried to have it both ways by continuing his baseless allegations that the election was marred by fraud while also calling on Republicans to vote in the Georgia Senate runoffs. Responding to a Newsmax story that claimed Trump supporters were considering boycotting the election, Trump said that Republicans need to get out the vote for the two Senate candidates. “Otherwise we are playing right into the hands of some very sick people,” Trump tweeted. Trump has called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger “an enemy of the people.” Speaking to reporters Saturday, McDaniel dismissed the suggestion that all the talk about fraud in the election would discourage Republicans from going to the polls in January. “The President has said, unequivocally, that he supports Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue and he’s going to come to Georgia to campaign for them,” she said.

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For weeks Loeffler and Perdue have been trying to walk a fine line of refusing to acknowledge that Trump lost In the state while also saying that they need to win in order to keep the Senate in Republican hands. McDaniel also tired to do that on Saturday, urging voters to “focus on the mission at hand” regardless of what they may feel about the decision to certify Biden’s victory in the state. “We’ve got to focus on January 5th right now,” she said. “We can deal with those other things later.”

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