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Politics Fact check: David Perdue falsely claims Brian Kemp turned over control of Georgia elections to Stacey Abrams

02:22  09 december  2021
02:22  09 december  2021 Source:   cnn.com

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Former Sen. David Perdue of Georgia launched his campaign for governor on Monday with a false claim about his chief opponent in the Republican primary, incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp . " Over my dead body will we ever do what Kemp did, and that is turn our elections over to Stacey Abrams ," said Perdue , who lost his US Senate seat to Democrat Jon Ossoff in early 2021. "We'll never let that happen again." Perdue 's claim echoed language he used in the announcement video he released earlier on Monday: " Over my dead body will we ever give Stacey Abrams control of our elections

Perdue attacked Raffensperger, Georgia ’s secretary of state, and Gov. Brian Kemp , whom he’s challenging in the GOP primary, in a two-and-a-half minute video in which he accuses both men of having betrayed Trump without ever explicitly endorsing Trump’s false claims of voter fraud. The message is obvious to anyone who has followed Trump’s baseless charges he was cheated out of a second term, as well as GOP efforts to install Republicans in control of state elections , pass laws curtailing electoral practices they blame for President Biden’s victory and whitewash the Jan.

Former Sen. David Perdue of Georgia launched his campaign for governor on Monday with a false claim about his chief opponent in the Republican primary, incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp.

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) attends a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on September 24, 2020 in Washington. © Drew Angerer/Pool/ABACAPRESS/Reuters Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) attends a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on September 24, 2020 in Washington.

In a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity, Perdue accused Kemp of handing control of Georgia elections to Democrat Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia state House minority leader who is now making a second run for governor after Kemp beat her in a close race in 2018.

"Over my dead body will we ever do what Kemp did, and that is turn our elections over to Stacey Abrams," said Perdue, who lost his US Senate seat to Democrat Jon Ossoff in early 2021. "We'll never let that happen again."

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Brian Kemp , driven largely by spite from Trump and his supporters over Kemp ’s correct insistence that there was no voter fraud in Georgia last year. The contest has all the makings of a costly and demoralizing battle between the Republicans in thrall to Trump and his election falsehoods and the For a state party hoping to focus its attacks on increasingly organized Democrats , Trump’s fiery re-entry into Georgia politics is already inviting a distracting media circus. For Democrats rallying around the return of political star Stacey Abrams , who announced her second run for governor last week

David Perdue officially announced his run for governor of Georgia on Monday, launching a primary challenge to sitting Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in a state that has been trending away from the GOP for years. Abrams , the 2018 Democratic nominee whom Kemp narrowly defeated, announced last week she would run for governor again and is considered the favorite in her party. Perdue 's entry comes after weeks of speculation that the Republican, who lost his bid for reelection to the Senate in a runoff earlier this year to Democrat Jon Ossoff, was considering challenging Kemp .

Perdue's claim echoed language he used in the announcement video he released earlier on Monday: "Over my dead body will we ever give Stacey Abrams control of our elections again."

Perdue didn't elaborate on how Kemp supposedly turned over Georgia elections to Abrams, and his campaign didn't respond to CNN's requests for clarification. But his comments on Fox were preceded by some relevant context from Hannity.

Hannity had complained just over a minute earlier about a 2020 legal settlement between Democratic organizations and Georgia elections officials. That settlement, which Trump has denounced repeatedly, laid out statewide standards for how Georgia counties had to verify absentee voters' signatures and for how quickly those counties had to contact absentee voters whose ballots were at risk of being tossed out.

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David Perdue in the Georgia gubernatorial race, calling current GOP Gov. Brian Kemp a "very weak Governor." "Great to see that David Perdue is running for Governor of Georgia ," Trump said in a statement Monday. "He is a Conservative fighter who isn’t afraid of the Radical Left, and is the " Brian Kemp has failed Georgia . He caved to Stacey Abrams before the 2020 Election and allowed massive Election Fraud to take place," Trump said. "The signing of the Stacey Abrams -backed Consent Decree, so stupidly giving her and the Democrats everything they wanted, was a monumental mistake

Just days after Democrat Stacey Abrams announced she was running for governor in her home state of Georgia , former Republican Sen. David Perdue declared Monday that he would mount a primary challenge against Gov. Brian Kemp . Abrams did not seek office in the 2020 election . Instead, she helped mobilize Democratic voters to secure wins in two critical U.S. Senate runoff elections that gave control of the U.S. Senate to her party. While Biden's win over Trump in Georgia helped secure his Electoral College win, the opposite result in the state would not have tipped the contest in Trump's

Facts First: Perdue's claim was entirely inaccurate. Stacey Abrams has never been in control of Georgia elections, and Kemp certainly did not turn over Georgia elections to her. In reality: The 2020 legal settlement didn't give control of Georgia elections to any Democrat, neither Abrams nor Kemp was a party to the settlement and Abrams wasn't even in government at the time.

Perdue could perhaps argue that he meant "turn our elections over to Stacey Abrams" in some less-than-literal way. But his claim is baseless no matter how generously you interpret it.

In a rare moment of unity, the Kemp and Abrams campaigns both said Tuesday that Perdue's claim was false.

Kemp campaign spokesman Cody Hall said in an email to CNN that "the claim he gave Abrams control of elections is a lie." Hall also said that "the Governor had no role in the settlement negotiations" and "was not a party to the agreement."

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' Brian Kemp has failed Georgia and allowed massive Election Fraud to take place,' Trump said in a statement. Trump also backing Herschel Walker in Senate primary, putting his political capital on the line in Georgia . 'It is going to be a political civil war here in Georgia ,' current Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican and frequent Trump critic, told AP. Trump's allegations of election fraud was the reported cause of divide among Georgia Republicans. Voting rights activist Stacey Abrams , who was previously defeated by Kemp in 2018, is running again for the Democratic Party's gubernatorial nomination.

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The Abrams campaign reiterated that she had not been involved in the settlement either. Campaign spokesman Seth Bringman said in an email to CNN: "David Perdue was apparently using one of Donald Trump's favorite Georgia fairy tales to make the argument that Brian Kemp is not anti-voter enough. Is this real life?!"

Following Trump

The March 2020 settlement has become a boogeyman to Trump and his Georgia allies. Trump has blasted both Kemp and Republican Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger over the settlement -- while wrongly describing what it said and wrongly describing it as an Abrams vehicle for election fraud.

So even without confirmation from Perdue that this is what he was referring to on Monday, it's worth explaining who was involved in the agreement, where it came from and what it actually included.

The settlement resolved a legal complaint that had been filed in 2019 by the Democratic Party of Georgia and two national Democratic entities, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The defendants listed on the settlement document Trump and others have criticized were Raffensperger and four other then-members of the state election board.

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Kemp and Abrams were not mentioned in the settlement.

The specifics of the settlement

The settlement addressed a Democratic complaint about a hole in Georgia elections law. But it did not change anything about who has power over Georgia elections.

Here's the background.

A law passed by the Republican-controlled legislature in 2019 required counties to give absentee voters the opportunity to "cure" problems with their ballots, such as mismatched or missing signatures, before those ballots were tossed out. The law had also required counties to "promptly" get in touch with the voters whose ballots were in danger.

But the law didn't define "promptly" and didn't specify what methods counties needed to use to notify the voters. The Democratic plaintiffs alleged that too many absentee ballots had been rejected in Georgia because of the absence of such specifics; they also argued that these rejections had disproportionately disenfranchised "African-American and other minority voters."

Raffensperger settled the complaint by endorsing a set of statewide notification standards -- standards that, as Raffensperger's office emphasized to CNN, the state election board had already put forward at public meetings in the weeks prior to the settlement agreement.

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Under the new standards, counties had to notify absentee voters of pending ballot rejections, and the opportunity to "cure" the problem, either by the next business day or in three business days, depending on how late in the campaign the ballot was received. And counties were required to send the voters a mailed notice for sure, plus try them by phone and email if that extra information was available on their voter registration records.

Nothing in this policy represented a transfer of election power to Abrams or to Democrats more broadly.

Georgia's signature-match system was eliminated by the new Republican elections law Kemp signed in March 2021; now Georgia's absentee voters have to provide one of several forms of non-signature identification. But contrary to Trump's claim in September 2021 that the 2020 legal settlement "effectively abolished signature verification" in Georgia, the verification system was very much in place during the 2020 presidential election. In fact, the settlement explicitly kept a signature verification system in place -- laying out a statewide process for how counties had to go about comparing voters' new signatures with older signatures on file.

Training materials

Some Republicans have complained that another section of the settlement gave too much power to Democrats. Raffensperger and the state election board members agreed to "consider in good faith" sending counties "additional guidance and training materials" on signature verification that would be drafted by the Democratic plaintiffs.

Even if Raffensperger's office did send counties Democratic-drafted guidance and training materials, that still wouldn't mean Abrams had been handed control of Georgia elections. But Raffensperger's office told CNN on Tuesday that they didn't end up sending out those documents.

"We considered but did not use or distribute the materials from the Democratic Party plaintiffs," the office said in an email.

Trump-backed Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue files lawsuit to inspect absentee ballots from 2020 election .
In his criticism of the vote certification, Perdue says that he wouldn't have signed off on anything "with the information that was available at the time."In taking such a step, Perdue — who is running against incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp in the GOP primary with the backing of former President Donald Trump — is amplifying the former president's debunked claims of election malfeasance despite the October dismissal of a lawsuit that made some of the same claims.

usr: 4
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