Politics

Republicans Brace For Trump Rally In Georgia That Could Make Or Break Senate Runoffs

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President Trump will fly into Georgia on Saturday in a test of whether his star power and bully pulpit are enough to unite a splintering local Republican Party that threatens to undermine GOP hopes of holding two Senate seats and overall control of the upper chamber of Congress.

The tensions offer a foreshadowing of what some insiders fear will be months of score-settling as Trump loyalists accuse mainstream Republicans of failing to back the president’s claims of a rigged election.

Trump will hold a rally in the conservative city of Valdosta, where Republicans hope he can mobilize supporters to vote for Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in crucial runoff elections. At the same time, however, they fear his barrage of attacks on the state party over his election defeat could keep his base at home.

Local Republican strategist Brian Robinson said Trump’s appearance was a pivotal moment, potentially dividing the Senate races into “before Saturday” and “after Saturday” phases.

“If he comes down here and paints a stark picture of what a Democrat-controlled Washington would mean, the importance of reelecting Loeffler and Perdue to preserve his legacy, to protect the conservative victory that he enacted for the past four years, then that is a turnout message,” he said. “It needs to be forward-looking, not backwards-looking, and it needs to unify Georgia Republicans.”

But the unspoken fear for Saturday’s rally is a crowd of thousands directing “Lock him up” chants at state officials, such as Gov. Brian Kemp, while Trump delivers a 90-minute diatribe against disloyal Republicans who have not overturned his election defeat.

Days of Twitter attacks and public fraud hearings have already heaped pressure on local officials.

The result has been lawmakers twisting themselves into pretzels to offer Trump support, deflecting attacks by promising to do everything they can to find fraud despite having already certified the state’s election results.

On Thursday, it was Kemp’s turn after days of being on the receiving end of Twitter and public demonstrations.

“I called early on for a signature audit,” he said on Fox News, after Trump supporters, including Rudy Giuliani, claimed to have video evidence of ballots being counted without oversight.

“Obviously, the secretary of state, per the laws of the Constitution, would have to order that. He has not done that. I think it should be done.”

However, it is unclear how a signature audit is even possible when signatures … (Read more)

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