Donald Trump endorsed Rep. Jody Hice immediately on Monday as the Georgia congressman launched his primary bid to take on the state’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Hice vowed upon announcing his candidacy to fight for ‘securing’ elections.
‘It’s official!’ he tweeted Monday morning after publicly flirting with launching a bid for Georgia secretary of State.
‘Free and fair elections are the foundation of our country, which is why I am excited to announce my campaign for Georgia Secretary of State,’ he continued in his tweet. ‘Together, we can renew integrity and secure our elections.’
Not even a half-hour later, Trump issued his endorsement of the Georgia representative to take on Raffensperger.
He wrote in a message from his Save America PAC: ‘Wow, just heard the good news.’
Representative Jody Hice, a Republican, announced Monday he is launching a primary bid against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger
He said his focus will be on ‘renewing election integrity’
Not even 30 minutes after his announcement, President Donald Trump issued his endorsement of Hice
‘One of our most outstanding Congressmen, Jody Hice, has announced he is running for Secretary of State in the Great State of Georgia,’ the former president continued. ‘Jody has been a steadfast fighter for conservative Georgia values and is a staunch ally of the America First agenda.’
‘Unlike the current Georgia Secretary of State, Jody leads out front with integrity,’ Trump said in taking a hit at Raffensperger. ‘I have 100% confidence in Jody to fight for Free, Fair, and Secure Elections in Georgia, in line with our beloved U.S. Constitution. Jody will stop the Fraud and get honesty into our Elections! Jody loves the people of Georgia, and has my Complete and Total Endorsement.’
Trump’s endorsement of Hice was no surprise.
Longtime Trump adviser Jason Miller told Fox News on Sunday’ ‘Really importantly, pay attention to Georgia, tomorrow, on Monday. There’s a big endorsement that’s coming that’s really going to shake things up in the political landscape in Georgia. It’s big, it’s coming tomorrow, and just be sure to tune in.’
The former president’s push for Raffensperger’s ouster comes after he refused to back Trump’s election fraud claims in Georgia – a state in which Joe Biden won by just 0.23% after mail-in ballots were tabulated days after the election.
Trump publicly lamented of Raffensperger in November and the months following and publicly pressured him to probe the 2020 election process and overturn the results in his favor.
Raffensperger, 65, revealed that in an early January call that the then-president told him to ‘find’ a certain number of votes – the exact amount needed to change the outcome.
This call has led to Georgia prosecutors investigating whether Trump tried to improperly influence the presidential election.
Georgia Representative Hice, 60, is a staunch ally of Trump and supported his efforts to overturn the election results.
Hice, who represents Georgia’s 10th District, has been flirting with a run against Raffensperger
Raffensperger, a Republican, broke with Trump after the November election by refusing to back his voter fraud claims
He also ridiculed Democratic efforts to impeach Trump for a second time over his role in the January 6 Capitol Hill riot – a claim he insisted was ‘bogus.’ Ultimately Trump was impeached twice, but the Senate acquitted him for the second time in February.
Hice was first elected to represent Georgia’s 10th District in the House in 2014. He is considering launching a primary bid against Raffensperger.
Raffensperger’s aides in weeks following the election rebuked Trump’s repeated claims of voter fraud and that Georgia’s 16 Electoral College votes were ‘stolen’ from him by Democrat cheaters.
Some aides even warned in early December that Trump’s claims could lead to violence.
Just over a month later, thousands of Trump supporters descended on Capitol Hill in a violent attack to try and prevent Congress from certifying the presidential election for Biden.
Trump has turned a lot of his attention to Georgia for the 2022 midterms, especially after two January Senate runoff elections saw both Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue being ousted by Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively.
Those two consequential elections led to Democrats earning the slimmest majority possible in the Senate with a 50-50 split and Vice President Kamala Harris – a former senator herself – holding the tie-breaking vote.
Hice has been considering launching a bid against Raffenperger in 2022. Last week he said he was ‘exploring options’ and previewed to prepare for a decision ‘within the next few days.’
Trump, according to those familiar with his thinking, has also been attempting to recruit a primary opponent for Georgia’s GOP Governor Brian Kemp.
The former president has also accused Kemp, like Raffensperger, of not doing enough to intervene in the state’s ballot count, which continued long after Election Day in the midst of the pandemic.
He even publicly encouraged former NFL running back Herschel Walker to run for Senate.