A battle erupted within the Republican Party this week on how best to tackle allegations of fraud in Georgia in the Nov. 3 election.
Attorneys Lin Wood and Sidney Powell, who are behind a number of lawsuits alleging fraud in battleground states such as Georgia, appeared to some to suggest boycotting the upcoming Senate runoffs, sparking fury from some in the party.
“We’re not going to go vote on Jan. 5 on another machine made by China. You’re not going to fool Georgians again,” Wood said at a rally in Atlanta. “Why would you go back and vote in another rigged election? For God’s sake, fix it. You’ve got to fix it before we’ll do it again.”
“I would encourage all Georgians to make it known that you will not vote at all until your vote is secure,” Powell added. “There should not be a runoff. Certainly not on Dominion machines.”
The message to some was to not vote in the Jan. 5, 2021, Senate runoffs. That would align with messaging from Democratic political action committees that assert that Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) didn’t deliver for President Donald Trump.
The incumbents are fighting to win after failing to garner a majority of votes in the presidential election. If both lose and Democrats also gain the White House, they’ll have control of both chambers of Congress and the presidency.
Trump allies criticized the lawyers, including Townhall columnist Kurt Schlichter and California lawyer Harmeet Dhillon. Georgia Rep. Vernon Jones, a Democrat who supports Trump and was present at the rally, urged people to vote in the runoffs.
Some critics drew attention to an article on Breitbart posted after the rally, alleging that Wood has donated to Democrats for decades, including former President Barack Obama. The conservative website gave Wood a demeaning nickname and described him as going “for sabotage” in Georgia.
Trump’s campaign shared the article and a spokesman, Matt Wolking, urged Republicans to vote for Loeffler and Perdue in the runoffs. “They’ve fought with President Trump against the radical left, and we need them in the Senate to keep fighting!” he wrote in a tweet.
At this point, “there’s no way” that sentiments such as those offered by Wood and Powell don’t depress the vote for the incumbents in the runoffs, Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting systems implementation manager, said during a Dec. 3 appearance on CNN.
“I really have a problem with somebody like Lin Wood, who hasn’t voted Republican primaries since 2004, telling Republicans, don’t vote for the Republican Senate candidates. It’s maddening. I can’t even begin to put words to it,” Sterling said.
Interest in the runoffs is sky-high, with such high stakes. Nearly 1 million mail-in ballots have already been requested, officials said on Dec. 2.
Wood defended himself in a series of posts on Twitter, saying the runoff election “will be rigged” just like the general election was.
“Same machines, same absentee ballots, same fraud. Fix the fraud. Then exercise your vote in an election which has integrity,” he wrote in one post, in response to a user who asked if Republicans risked losing the Senate if they followed his advice.
In others, he called on Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, to call a special session of the legislature to correct perceived issues with the election system. He also said he voted for Trump in both 2016 and 2020.
A Kemp spokesperson has said the governor can’t interfere in elections.
Powell, who didn’t return an inquiry, shared a post by a woman who said she’s voting for Perdue and Loeffler but has no expectation that her votes will be counted accurately.
Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, “deserve the scrutiny,” the user wrote. “THEY created the problem.”
In an emailed statement this week, Loeffler campaign spokesman Stephen Lawson told The Epoch Times, “Every Republican in this state knows the stakes of this race because it will decide the future of our country, and that’s why everyone is getting to the polls to vote for Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.”
Georgia Republicans “know that Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue continue to stand with President Donald Trump,” said Abigail Sigler, a Georgia GOP spokeswoman.
The intra-party fights came hours after a group of former Republican leaders, including former Sen. Johnny Isakson and former Gov. Nathan Deal, penned a letter calling for unity within the party and a focus on winning the runoffs.
“We have watched with increasing concern as the debate surrounding the state’s electoral system has made some within our Party consider whether voting in the coming runoff election matters,” they wrote.
While work to correct any irregularities that occurred during the presidential election should continue, “we cannot let this ongoing work detract from a mission that only Georgia Republicans can accomplish: maintaining control of the U.S. Senate so that our children and grandchildren can continue to enjoy the national security, economic opportunity, and personal freedom that have defined our great nation since its Founding.”