Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger called on the GOP to “coalesce” and elect “principled” leaders ahead of Donald Trump’s trip to the state Saturday, the former president’s first public appearance since his second criminal indictment.
Raffensperger gained national prominence after his Jan. 2, 2021, phone call with Trump during which the former president asked him to “find” enough votes to secure his victory in the state’s 2020 presidential election vote count.
“The party really has to coalesce and we need to be focused on broad-based coalitions,” Raffensperger said on Fox News, noting his and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s overwhelming victories in the last election. “That’s how you win and that’s how Republicans win not only in Georgia, but nationwide — particularly as things are more competitive.”
Without concretely expressing support for the government’s criminal case against Trump, Raffensperger said “I support the rule of law,” and called on Republicans to “find leaders that are principled when they hold themselves up.”
While Raffensperger stressed he is “looking for someone that’s a principled leader with integrity,” when pressed he evaded saying definitively whether he would vote for Trump if he were to be the party’s 2024 presidential nominee. Raffensperger responded only by repeating that he’s “looking for principled leadership.”
Raffensperger testified before the Jan. 6 committee last June. The secretary and other state election officials appeared before a grand jury last year as part of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ investigation into whether Trump and others illegally tried to meddle in the 2020 election in the state.
Raffensperger confirmed that he was not invited to Trump’s speech at the Georgia state Republican convention Saturday afternoon.
“For some reason the constitutional officers — statewide elected Republican office-holders — were not invited to the event,” he quipped.