Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s incumbent secretary of state, held off a challenge from Democratic state Rep. Bee Nguyen on Tuesday night, marking a major rebuke of former President Donald Trump’s influence in the state.
Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp, who also won reelection Tuesday night, became the face of Republican opposition to Trump’s election fraud claims in 2020. Both officials publicly rebuked Trump’s allegations, and Raffensperger gained even more “resistance” notoriety after a recorded Jan. 2, 2021, call with Trump was made public.
Raffensperger could be heard on the call vocally defending Georgia’s election integrity and refusing to influence the state results as requested by Trump.
Georgia state results showed Raffensperger winning. Nguyen reportedly called Raffensperger’s campaign to concede shortly before midnight.
Raffensperger ran heavily on his willingness to “buck” Trump and the party if necessary.
“I’m going to stand for the rule of law, and I’m going to buck my own party if I have to,” he told Meet the Press in October. “This should not be a partisan job. This is an impartial job. I am making sure that we have honest and fair elections for everyone. And that’s so important to me, and it should be so important to every American.”
He and Kemp did draw fire from Democrats in early 2021 after passing a new voting law that critics claimed at the time would make it harder for Georgians, especially black Georgians, to vote.
As the state shattered early voting records ahead of the election, Republicans blasted the criticisms as untrue. As of Oct. 26, Georgia’s early voting levels registered 23% higher than in the 2018 midterm elections and on pace with the 2020 presidential election levels.
“Georgia voters are giving their county election directors a tremendous blessing by taking advantage of the unprecedented variety of early voting options available to all Georgians,” Raffensperger said in late October. “Reducing the burden on the counties is crucial for a safe, secure, and accessible election.”