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Republican Brad Raffensperger wins runoff for Georgia secretary of state

Raffensperger said he would continue Gov.-elect Brian Kemp's practice of strictly enforcing ID laws and pruning election rolls of inactive voters.
Image: Brad Raffensperger
Brad Raffensperger greets supporters during a campaign stop in Augusta, Georgia, last week.Michael Holahan / The Augusta Chronicle via AP

Republican state Rep. Brad Raffensperger was elected Georgia's secretary of state on Tuesday amid a debate over access to the polls and election security.

Raffensperger, 63, defeated Democratic former Rep. John Barrow in a runoff for the office, which had been held by Republican Gov.-elect Brian Kemp. The runoff was made necessary after neither candidate polled more than 50 percent on Nov. 6, with Raffensperger leading by about 16,000 votes out of more than 3.8 million cast.

President Donald Trump tweeted an endorsement last week of Raffensperger, who represents part of Fulton County in metropolitan Atlanta.

Kemp remained secretary of state until after the general election, infuriating Democrats who called it a conflict of interest and accused him of suppressing minority votes.

Kemp insisted that the Democrats' accusations were false, pointing to large increases in voter registration on his watch and record turnout on Nov. 6.

Raffensperger said he would make preventing voter fraud his priority, pledging to continue Kemp's practice of strictly enforcing voter ID laws and pruning registration rolls of inactive voters. Any changes to state elections laws must be approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature for Kemp's signature.

Kemp's Democratic rival for governor, Stacey Abrams, urged voters to support Barrow in a speech in which she announced that she would sue to change how Georgia runs its elections.