(Headline USA) President Donald Trump pushed supporters to cast ballots for a pair of Republican Senate candidates in Georgia‘s Jan. 5 runoff election that will decide the balance of power in Congress.
Republicans need one victory to maintain their Senate majority.
Democrats need a Georgia sweep to force a 50-50 Senate.
Trump rallied thousands of supporters in Valdosta, not long after he was rebuffed by Georgia’s Republican governor in his astounding call for a special legislative session to give him the state’s electoral votes.
Party officials had hoped the president would dedicate his energy to imploring their supporters to vote in the Jan. 5 election, when Perdue and Loeffler try to hold off Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively.
Trump said the race is “the most important congressional runoff, probably in American history.”
“I want to stay on presidential,” Trumps said minutes into his speech. “But I got to get to these two.”
He praised the GOP lawmakers, Perdue for his support for military spending and Loeffler for pushing for early coronavirus relief spending.
But he quickly pivoted back to the undecided presidential election.
“Let them steal Georgia again, you’ll never be able to look yourself in the mirror,” Trump told rallygoers.
Trump pulled out a piece of paper and read a list of his electoral achievements, asserting that he won Georgia and the White House.
Chants of “Fight for Trump” drowned out the two senators as they briefly spoke to the crowd.
Hours before the event, Trump asked Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in a phone call to order the legislative session; the governor refused, according to an anonymous source, the Associated Press reported.
Kemp, in a tweet, said Trump also asked him to order an audit of signatures on absentee ballot envelopes in his state.
Trump, though, expressed his frustrations with Kemp on Twitter and at the rally.
“Your people are refusing to do what you ask,” he complained in a tweet, as if speaking with Kemp. “What are they hiding? At least immediately ask for a Special Session of the Legislature. That you can easily, and immediately, do.”
At the rally, he took aim once again at Kemp, saying he could assure him victory “if he knew what the hell he was doing.”
Trump’s personal contact with the governor demonstrated he is intent on amplifying the evidence of widespread electoral fraud.
In his tweet, Kemp said: “As I told the President this morning, I’ve publicly called for a signature audit three times (11/20, 11/24, 12/3) to restore confidence in our election process and to ensure that only legal votes are counted in Georgia.”
The Secretary of State has fraudulently certified the vote for Biden.
“I know we’ve all got our doubts about the last election, and I hear some of you saying, ‘Just don’t vote,’” Pence said Friday while campaigning with Perdue in Savannah. “If you don’t vote, they win.”
First lady Melania Trump made a rare political appearance to introduce the president, and encouraged Georgians to get out to vote.
“We must keep our seats in the Senate,” she said. “It’s more important than ever that you exercise your rights as a citizen and vote.”
Trump’s false claims have resonated with voters such as Barry Mann, a 61-year-old business owner who came to hear Pence in Savannah. Mann hasn’t decided whether he’ll vote for his senators a second time.
“I think there’s some issues with our election and more investigation needs to be done,” Barry Mann, a business owner in Savannah said, adding that he doesn’t think Perdue and Loeffler have done enough to support Trump’s efforts to overturn the results.
“I want to see what happens between now and January.”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press.