Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger beats Trump ally

  • Incumbent Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, checks returns with supporters during an election night party Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022, at a small restaurant in Peachtree Corners, Ga.

    Incumbent Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, checks returns with supporters during an election night party Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022, at a small restaurant in Peachtree Corners, Ga. Associated Press

  • Incumbent Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger talks with supporters during an election night party Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022, at a small restaurant in Peachtree Corners, Ga.

    Incumbent Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger talks with supporters during an election night party Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022, at a small restaurant in Peachtree Corners, Ga. Associated Press

  • FILE - Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., speaks at a news conference held by members of the House Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 29, 2021. Hice faces Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the May 24, 2022, Republican primary.

    FILE - Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., speaks at a news conference held by members of the House Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 29, 2021. Hice faces Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the May 24, 2022, Republican primary. Associated Press

  • Incumbent Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger talks with a supporter during an election night party Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022 at a small restaurant in Peachtree Corners, Ga.

    Incumbent Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger talks with a supporter during an election night party Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022 at a small restaurant in Peachtree Corners, Ga. Associated Press

  • Incumbent Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger waits for returns to come in during an election night party Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022 at a small restaurant in Peachtree Corners, Ga.

    Incumbent Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger waits for returns to come in during an election night party Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022 at a small restaurant in Peachtree Corners, Ga. Associated Press

  • Incumbent Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, talks with supporters during an election night party Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022 at a small restaurant in Peachtree Corners, Ga.

    Incumbent Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, talks with supporters during an election night party Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022 at a small restaurant in Peachtree Corners, Ga. Associated Press

  • FILE - Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during an interview on Oct. 28, 2021, in Atlanta. Georgia takes center stage in Tuesday's primary elections as Gov. Brian Kemp and Raffensperger try to fight back challengers endorsed by Donald Trump, who is seeking revenge for his 2020 election defeat in the state.

    FILE - Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during an interview on Oct. 28, 2021, in Atlanta. Georgia takes center stage in Tuesday's primary elections as Gov. Brian Kemp and Raffensperger try to fight back challengers endorsed by Donald Trump, who is seeking revenge for his 2020 election defeat in the state. Associated Press

  • A person waits in line to vote in the Georgia's primary election on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Atlanta.

    A person waits in line to vote in the Georgia's primary election on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Atlanta. Associated Press

  • People vote in the Georgia's primary election on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Atlanta.

    People vote in the Georgia's primary election on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Atlanta. Associated Press

  • People vote in the Georgia's primary election on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Atlanta.

    People vote in the Georgia's primary election on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Atlanta. Associated Press

  • Incumbent Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger waits for returns to come in during an election night party Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022, at a small restaurant in Peachtree Corners, Ga.

    Incumbent Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger waits for returns to come in during an election night party Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022, at a small restaurant in Peachtree Corners, Ga. Associated Press

  • People wait in line to vote in the Georgia's primary election on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Atlanta.

    People wait in line to vote in the Georgia's primary election on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Atlanta. Associated Press

  • Incumbent Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger waits for returns to come in during an election night party Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022 at a small restaurant in Peachtree Corners, Ga.

    Incumbent Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger waits for returns to come in during an election night party Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022 at a small restaurant in Peachtree Corners, Ga. Associated Press

 
 
Posted5/25/2022 7:00 AM

ATLANTA -- Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who was a top target of former President Donald Trump, has won the Republican primary as he seeks reelection.

Raffensperger beat three challengers, including Trump-endorsed U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, who had criticized his handling of the 2020 election.

 

Raffensperger was among Trump's chief targets when the former president turned his wrath on top Georgia officials for not taking steps to overturn his narrow election loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the state. Trump insisted without proof that victory had been stolen from him through widespread voter fraud.

In a now-notorious January 2021 phone call, Trump suggested Raffensperger could 'find' enough votes to overturn President Biden's victory. That led a prosecutor in Atlanta to open an investigation into whether Trump and others tried to illegally influence the state's election. That investigation is ongoing.

Hice embraced false claims about the 2020 election being stolen and objected to Georgia's electoral votes being counted for Biden.

The other two candidates in the Republican primary were former Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle and former probate and magistrate judge T.J. Hudson.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP's earlier story follows below.

ATLANTA -- Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is facing a tough primary challenge Tuesday, nearly two years after he drew the wrath of former President Donald Trump for refusing to try to overturn Trump's loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the state.

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Trump was quick to endorse U.S. Rep. Jody Hice last year when he announced he would challenge Raffensperger. The secretary of state was a primary target among numerous top state officials Trump blamed for his loss in Georgia, which has long voted reliably for Republican presidential candidates. Trump also lambasted GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, who is battling a Trump-endorsed candidate in Tuesday's gubernatorial primary.

Hice has fully embraced Trump's false claims that the 2020 election was stolen and objected to Georgia's electoral votes being counted for Biden. State and federal officials, including Trump's own attorney general, have said there was no evidence of widespread fraud. The votes in Georgia's presidential election were counted three times, and each tally confirmed Biden's victory.

All three challengers in the GOP primary - Hice, former Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle and former probate and magistrate judge T.J. Hudson - have criticized Raffensperger's handling of the 2020 election, saying he caused Georgians to lose confidence in the system.

Raffensperger has punched back, staunchly defending his record and insisting that Georgia's elections are fair and secure. He also made prohibiting noncitizens from voting - a platform popular with conservative Republicans that is already enshrined in Georgia law - a centerpiece of his reelection campaign.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Trump's obsession with his election loss and his unproven claims of widespread fraud have put a spotlight on down-ballot secretary of state races around the country.

In a notorious phone call on Jan. 2, 2021, Trump suggested that Raffensperger could 'find' enough votes to swing the state's presidential election result in his favor. Raffensperger's unwillingness to bend to pressure from Trump raised his profile nationwide.

On the Democratic side, five candidates are fighting for their party's nomination. All of them have championed voting rights and criticized a sweeping election law passed by Republicans in the General Assembly in 2021 that shortened the period to request an absentee ballot, added an ID requirement, restricted drop boxes, and stripped the secretary of state of his seat on the State Election Board, among other things.

State Rep. Bee Nguyen, who occupies the seat formerly held by Democratic gubernatorial candidate and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, leads the group in fundraising and has snagged some significant endorsements. The other candidates are: Floyd Griffin, a state senator and former mayor of the city of Milledgeville; Michael Owens, former Cobb County Democratic Party chairman; John Eaves, former Fulton County Commission chairman; and Dee Dawkins-Haigler, a former state representative from DeKalb County.

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