Biden headed to victory in Georgia recount as state looks ahead to high-stakes Senate runoff

Southeast

ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — Democrat Joe Biden is headed toward victory in Georgia after the state’s second recount, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said on Wednesday, rejecting false claims of fraud in the race.

“It looks like Vice President Biden will be carrying Georgia, and he is our president-elect,” Raffensperger, a Republican, said at a news conference after noting that no substantial changes have been seen in a second recount demanded by Republican President Donald Trump’s campaign.

County election officials have until noon on Friday to finalize their vote counts, said Gabriel Sterling, who manages the Southern state’s voting systems and also appeared at the news conference.

Raffensperger said multiple investigations in Georgia have found no evidence of widespread fraud, as alleged by Trump.

Raffensperger, a Trump supporter, noted the findings so far in Georgia were in line with comments by Attorney General William Barr that the U.S. Justice Department has found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Raffensperger criticized Trump for fomenting false claims.

“Even after this office request that President Trump try and quell the violent rhetoric being born out of his continuing claims of winning the states where he obviously lost, he tweeted out ‘expose the massive voter fraud in Georgia,'” Raffensperger said.

“This is exactly the kind of language that is at the base of a growing threat environment for election workers who are simply doing their jobs.”

State officials in Georgia have launched new investigations into voter registration efforts before Jan. 5 runoff elections for the state’s two U.S. Senate seats, which will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the upper chamber. Republicans currently control the Senate.

Raffensperger said officials are looking into whether voting rights groups were trying to register people who have moved out of state or are deceased. 

Top Georgia elections official Gabriel Sterling, also echoed Raffensperger, specifically calling on Trump to rein in his supporters.

Sterling is a Republican who oversaw the implementation of the state’s new voting system. On Tuesday, Sterling admonished the president and Georgia’s two U.S. senators, who are both locked in tight runoff races against Democrats and have called on Raffensperger to resign over claims that he mishandled the election.

“Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language. Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions,” Sterling said. “This has to stop. We need you to step up, and if you’re going to take a position of leadership, show some.”

“Rigged Election,” Trump tweeted in a reply to an Atlanta TV journalist who tweeted about Sterling’s denunciation. “Show signatures and envelopes. Expose the massive voter fraud in Georgia. What is Secretary of State and Brian Kemp afraid of. They know what we’ll find!!!”

People have been driving in caravans past Raffensperger’s home, have come onto his property and have sent sexualized threats to his wife’s cellphone, said Sterling. Raffensperger and Sterling both have police stationed outside their homes, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said it’s investigating possible threats against officials to determine their credibility.

Trump last week called Raffensperger an “enemy of the people,” Sterling noted, adding, “That helped open the floodgates to this kind of crap.”

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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