By Beau Evans
Capitol Beat News Service
Georgia’s two U.S. senators and more than a dozen Republican state lawmakers are backing a lawsuit brought by the state of Texas on Tuesday seeking to overturn the certified results of Georgia’s presidential election.
U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, both Republicans, said in a joint statement late Tuesday that they support the Texas lawsuit despite opposition from Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr’s office, which called the suit “constitutionally, legally and factually wrong.”
The Texas challenge comes as Georgia lawmakers prepare for another hearing on Thursday to air claims of fraud in Georgia’s election system that have fallen flat so far in several federal lawsuits brought by allies of President Donald Trump, who has refused to concede defeat in last month’s general election.
The suit also comes as Republicans pin their hopes on Perdue and Loeffler to prevail in the Jan. 5 runoff elections, which will decide the balance of power in the Senate and would give President-elect Joe Biden’s administration free rein over policymaking if both Democratic candidates win.
Filed before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, the suit by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton seeks to block Electoral College members in four states – Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – where Biden won the popular vote. It asks the court to let those states’ Republican-controlled legislatures pick the electors, likely overturning more than 20 million votes and handing victory to Trump.
Loeffler and Perdue hailed the Texas suit as well as other Trump-supporting legal challenges involving fraud claims that federal judges have shot down in recent weeks and election officials from both political parties in multiple states including Georgia have dismissed as baseless.
“This isn’t hard and it isn’t partisan,” said the joint statement from Loeffler and Perdue. “It’s American. No one should ever have to question the integrity of our elections system and the credibility of its outcomes.”
Their comments echoed praise for the Texas suit that came earlier Tuesday from 16 Georgia Senate members including Senate Majority Whip Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonegah, who jointly called it a “very important case.”
The Texas suit argues Georgia logged several thousand votes favoring Biden that should have gone for Trump due to “statistical improbability,” citing certain figures for mail-in ballot rejection rates that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office has disputed as inaccurate.
Perdue and Loeffler last month called for Raffensperger’s resignation over the fraud claims, prompting backlash from state election-system manager Gabriel Sterling who said the move helped open a “floodgate of crap” from conspiracy theorists. Raffensperger and Sterling, both Republicans, have said they’ll still vote for Perdue and Loeffler despite the controversy.
Many state senators who praised the lawsuit held a hearing last week that allowed hours of unchecked fraud claims from witnesses and experts brought by Trump’s personal attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. The House is expected to follow suit with Thursday’s scheduled hearing.
Democratic state lawmakers have condemned the hearings as open forums for conspiracy theories and empty allegations that aim to placate staunch Trump voters who have decided the presidential election was “rigged” rather than actually probe legitimate fraud claims.
State Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, who said she’s received death threats following her attendance at last week’s hearing, mocked Loeffler and Perdue for backing the out-of-state lawsuit, saying they “are welcome to be the senators from the great state of Texas.”
“As elected officials, our job is to encourage the public’s faith in the democratic process,” Parent said. “Continuing to engage with baseless allegations of fraud is irresponsible and immoral.”
Loeffler, an Atlanta businesswoman appointed to retired U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s seat earlier this year, is facing Rev. Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in one of next month’s runoffs. Perdue, a Sea Island businessman, has drawn investigative journalist Jon Ossoff in the other.
Early voting for the Senate runoff elections starts Dec. 14.