Former President Donald Trump on Monday endorsed a primary challenger to Georgia's Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, who refused Trump's demands to "find" enough votes to overturn the state's presidential election results.
"Wow, just heard the good news. One of our most outstanding congressmen, Jody Hice, has announced he is running for secretary of state in the great state of Georgia," Trump said in a statement Monday.
"Unlike the current Georgia secretary of state, Jody leads out front with integrity," Trump added.
After the November election, Trump repeatedly clung to numerous conspiracy theories claiming that he'd won Georgia, not Joe Biden, who got about 12,000 more votes. Trump continued to blame Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp, also a Republican, for the loss even as his various theories were debunked, with multiple recounts and audits confirming the outcome.
Trump, who had also lost court challenges over the results, called Raffensperger to urge him again to overturn the results in the days before the Jan. 6 electoral vote count.
"So look," Trump told Raffensperger on the call. "All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state."
"There's no way I lost Georgia," Trump said at another point during the call. "There's no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes."
The call is now being investigated by the secretary of state's office and the Fulton County district attorney.
Trump's endorsement came shortly after Hice — who had backed Trump's claims there was widespread fraud in the election — announced his candidacy Monday morning.
“Free and fair elections are the foundation of our country,” the four-term congressman said in a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “What Brad Raffensperger did was create cracks in the integrity of our elections, which I wholeheartedly believe individuals took advantage of in 2020."
Hice objected to Georgia's electoral vote being counted on Jan. 6, even after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, delaying the vote count. In a since-deleted Instagram post on the morning of Jan. 6, Hice wrote, "This is our 1776 moment."
A spokeswoman for Hice told the Journal-Constitution the next day that the post was "our way of highlighting the electoral objection," and they removed it "when we realized it could be misconstrued as supporting those acting violently yesterday and storming the Capitol.”