ICYMI: AJC: “[Burt Jones’] involvement in ‘fake’ GOP electors draws scrutiny”

July 8, 2022

Concern is growing among Republicans that GOP Lieutenant Governor candidate Burt Jones’ extremism and serial election denialism could damage the entire GOP ticket this fall. According to new AJC reporting, GOP strategists are worried about Jones’ involvement in a scheme involving a phony slate of electors meant to help overturn the 2020 election – which law enforcement is investigating – warning it could “torpedo the rest of the down-ballot Republican candidates.” 

The phony elector slate is one drop in the bucket of Jones’ attacks on democracy throughout his campaign. Jones has spent his campaign fanning the flames of debunked election conspiracy theories, including pushing to convene a special legislative session to investigate the 2020 election. Jones last year was stripped of his committee chairmanship in the state legislature over his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, but continued to brag about those efforts on the campaign trail.

Read the story from the AJC below:

  • State Sen. Burt Jones’ role on a phony slate of GOP electors in Georgia, designed to help Donald Trump’s failed effort to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election, is drawing increased scrutiny as the Republican vies to become the state’s next lieutenant governor.
  • His Democratic opponent, attorney Charlie Bailey, has zeroed in on Jones’ inclusion on the GOP slate of electors, invoking investigations by the FBI and Fulton County in campaign speeches and fundraising emails. Some Republican strategists worry the issue could damage the rest of the GOP ticket.
  • In Bailey’s victory speech the night he won the Democratic primary runoff last month, Bailey said Jones, who is endorsed by Trump, was “not a patriot and not a true American.”
  • The Justice Department last month sought records from Georgia GOP Chairman David Shafer and Brad Carver, an attorney and Republican activist who was among the 16 fake electors. The activity is part of a broader probe involving phony electors in several states.
  • After a presidential election, “electors” from the party of the winning candidate meet to cast the state’s electoral votes for the winner and send them to Congress to be certified.
  • As the official Democratic electors met Dec. 14, 2020, to cast Georgia’s electoral votes for Biden, Shafer gathered an alternative slate of Republicans to cast votes for Trump, even though it was an empty gesture from supporters of a losing candidate who wouldn’t accept that he lost.
  • The GOP in some other states Trump lost did the same with the hope that Vice President Mike Pence would throw out the legal electors.
  • Bailey, in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said: “Burt Jones doesn’t get to decide whose votes count and whose votes don’t.
  • “When you step in and say, ‘I am the official elector of this state and I am saying that Donald Trump won this state despite the law, despite the certification (of votes), we are saying this because we want it to be the case,’ there’s nothing more unAmerican, there’s nothing more unpatriotic than an action like that.”
  • Some Republican strategists say they’re concerned increased scrutiny of Jones’ involvement as a fake elector will torpedo the rest of the down-ballot Republican candidates. While they say the other GOP candidates have a great chance at winning, they worry Bailey and other Democrats will use Jones’ actions after the 2020 election to galvanize suburban Republican voters who opposed Trump.
  • “It’s a massive liability, especially heading into November,” said one Republican strategist who has not been involved in campaigns this year but asked not to be named for fear of retaliation. “At what point does the FBI call up Burt Jones and say, ‘Hey, you were a fake elector,’ and what’s the effect on the down-ticket ballot? There’s a massive underlying sense that he can take everybody down.”
  • An email sent by Trump’s Georgia election day operations staffer shortly before the group of alternate electors gathered at the state Capitol asked participants to use discretion and not disclose why they had gathered. The electors were also told to tell Capitol security guards they were attending a meeting with Jones and state Sen. Brandon Beach, an Alpharetta Republican.
  • The Justice Department is intensifying its investigation into the fake Georgia electors after a U.S. House committee probing the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol in Washington presented evidence last month that tied the former president to the scheme to put forward pro-Trump slates.
  • Willis also said that the GOP electors were under scrutiny as part of her investigation into Trump’s attempt to reverse his defeat.
  • Bailey is expected to continue to call out Jones’ actions after the 2020 election.
  • “We can talk about policies till the cows come home, but this is bigger than that,” Bailey said. “If we don’t have representative democracy, we don’t have America. Period. And that’s what Burt Jones and his friends — that’s what they tried to take from the people of America and the people of Georgia.”


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