“Georgia 2020 Election Deniers Setting Sights On Higher Office”

GPB:

For the past seven months, a group of Republican lawmakers have engaged in efforts to cast doubt on Georgia’s election integrity and overturn the results of a 2020 presidential race that was counted three times — each count upholding President Joe Biden’s victory.

Now, some are parlaying their election skepticism into bids for higher office, launching campaigns for Congress, the governor’s mansion and the office of the top election official in the state, according to a GPB News and Georgia News Lab analysis.

There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, as confirmed by the original tally, a hand-counted risk-limiting audit of all the nearly five million votes for president, and a machine recount requested by the Trump campaign.

But that hasn’t stopped prominent supporters of former President Donald Trump from promoting falsehoods about absentee ballot fraud, floating claims of illegal voting and parroting allegations of conspiracies that have been thoroughly debunked by election officials….

U.S. Rep. Jody Hice’s (R-Greensboro) campaign for Raffenperger’s post was launched with Trump’s support on the premise of false claims about the election. Hice, one of the leading proponents of election misinformation in Congress, told right-wing media outlet Newsmax in November that he was not “convinced at all, not for one second, that Joe Biden won the state of Georgia.” He also falsely claimed absentee applications were sent to “illegal voters” and echoed debunked claims about suitcases of ballots added into the totals.

Hours after the Jan. 6 insurrection attempt at the U.S. Capitol, Hice objected to certifying Georgia’s electoral votes and came under fire for a social media post that morning calling the planned objections “our 1776 moment.”…

While the conspiracy-driven positions of candidates such as Jody Hice and right-wing media outlets like the Gateway Pundit and One America News Network may be some of the loudest voices on the election, some of the most influential figures occupy less extreme positions on the spectrum of election skepticism.

Two of the most visible proponents of misinformation about elections are Burt Jones, who recently said he will soon be announcing a run for statewide office, likely lieutenant governor, and Beach, who is considered a likely candidate for Congress.

Georgia GOP chair David Shafer presented the pair with “Warrior Awards” at the state Republican Party convention over the weekend.

“He led the charge, he cosigned lawsuits, he cosigned amicus briefs for lawsuits,” Shafer said of Sen. Jones. “And when it was all said and done, when the General Assembly convened in January, he was stripped of every committee assignment of value because the only people punished or held to account in the last election cycle were the people who called out the election wrongdoing.”  

Since November, Jones has repeatedly made comments that sowed doubt about the election system that he voted to authorize in 2019. Last month, he called for an audit of last year’s election and suggested on a conservative radio show that, if fraudulent ballots were found, the legislature could reconvene in a special session and overturn results that have already been counted and certified.

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