(Bloomberg) -- Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger won the Republican party’s nomination Tuesday, in a repudiation of former President Donald Trump’s effort to oust him for failing to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
Raffensperger beat his closest rival, Trump-backed US Representative Jody Hice, with a majority of the vote, according to both ABC News and NBC News, clearing the threshold needed to avoid a runoff. Hice had 33.8%, with 98% of precincts reporting, according to NBC.
A former engineer and state lawmaker completing his first term as Georgia’s top elections official, Raffensperger drew Trump’s ire after repeatedly debunking claims of massive voter fraud in 2020. President Joe Biden won Georgia by just under 12,000 votes.
“The truth always wins and the voters of Georgia have spoken,” Raffensperger said in a written statement.
Raffensperger, 67, spoke about pressure from the Trump campaign to change the results, including a call from South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and a January 2021 call in which Trump asked him to find enough votes to reverse the results. His office recorded Trump’s call and released the tape, which is now part of a special grand jury investigation.
“My job is to explain the facts and do that in a calm, rational reasonable manner,” Raffensperger said in an interview before the election. “You have to understand that they have been misled by all these people who have spread misinformation willfully.”
Hice, 62, who has pushed Trump’s debunked claims, voted against accepting the Georgia results in Congress on Jan. 6. He has said he would not have certified the results had he been secretary of state.
Raffensperger’s primary race was closer than other top Georgia officeholders facing Trump-backed challengers. Governor Brian Kemp beat US Senator David Perdue by about 50 percentage points, while Attorney General Chris Carr beat primary challenger John Gordon by almost as wide a margin, according to the AP. Insurance Commissioner John King, meanwhile, easily defeated Trump-backed Patrick Witt and another candidate.
Raffensperger’s other opponents in the primary were attorney David Belle Isle and former probate judge T.J. Hudson.
On the Democratic side, the primary is headed for a runoff in June. There were five candidates and no one got more than 50%.
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