Georgia held a Senate runoff on January 5, 2021 after none of the candidates garnered the majority of the vote for either of the two seats up for grabs in the November 3, 2020 general election. Under Georgia’s election laws, a candidate must garner more than 50 percent of the vote to be declared the winner.
Since none of the candidates met this threshold, the runoffs were held between the two GOP incumbents—former Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue—and their top opponents, Democratic Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. The two Democrats narrowly flipped the two seats in the runoffs, just as President Joe Biden did against former President Donald Trump in the general election. Trump, Lindell and their allies claim that these elections were “rigged” or “stolen,” although evidence does not corroborate their allegations.
Lindell said during an “Election Integrity” event in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on Saturday that he wanted Democrats to win the two seats in order to “save our country.”
“They’ve got to steal both those Democrats—they gotta take them both,” the MyPillow CEO told the audience he said at the time. “And I prayed hard, ‘God please let this happen.’ Now don’t look at me that way, saying, ‘Mike you cost us our country,’” he continued.
“If they [the Democrats] would have gave one back everyone would have just said, ‘Just give, you know, forget about 2020, let’s move on, and you know, we’ll just do this,’” the pro-Trump businessman said.
Lindell claimed that the Democrats “took” both seats. “We all seen it, they stole them in the middle of the night just like normal, you know.” The MyPillow CEO then gestured as if he was typing and selecting winners. “Boom, now this winner,” he said.
The Trump ally contended that what happened in the Georgia runoffs motivated people to take action in regards to what he claims are Democrats’ efforts to “steal” elections. “So then, everybody in the country said, ‘You know what, we’ve got to do something! There was election crimes!’”
Georgia’s 2020 election and January 2021 runoffs were overseen by Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. The GOP state official voted for Trump, donated to his campaign and received the former president’s endorsement when he ran for his position in 2018. However, he has consistently pushed back against Trump’s and his allies’ false claims about the 2020 election and the Senate runoffs.
Biden narrowly beat Trump in Georgia by a margin of just under 12,000 votes. That Democratic victory came after Republican candidates had carried the state in every election going back to 1996. Multiple audits and reviews concluded that Biden’s victory over Trump was legitimate.
Raffensperger released a December 2020 statement following the conclusion of a hand recount of the state’s election results. “The Secretary of State’s office has always been focused on calling balls and strikes in elections and, in this case, three strikes against the voter fraud claims and they’re out,” he said.
“We conducted a statewide hand recount that reaffirmed the initial tally, and a machine recount at the request of the Trump campaign that also reaffirmed the original tally. This audit disproves the only credible allegations the Trump campaign had against the strength of Georgia’s signature match processes,” the Republican official explained.
In the Senate runoffs, Ossoff beat incumbent Perdue by an even wider margin—leading his GOP opponent by more than 50,000 votes. Meanwhile, Warnock defeated incumbent Loeffler by more than 90,000 votes. Audits of those results showed that they were valid as well.
With Democrats flipping the two previously Republican-held seats, they gained narrow control of the Senate. The legislative body is now split 50-50 between the Republican and Democratic caucuses. Vice President Kamala Harris, as the president of the Senate, is able to cast tie-breaking votes. Democrats had already managed to maintain narrow control of the House as well—meaning they currently control the entire Congress and the White House.
In February, Lindell orchestrated a stunt at Georgia’s state Capitol. He brought a group of his supporters to deliver 40 boxes of affidavits alleging massive fraud in the 2020 election. Raffensperger “needs to be put in prison, it needs to be ended—put in prison,” the MyPillow CEO said at the time.
A spokesperson for Georgia’s Secretary of State slammed Lindell’s false claims shortly after the stunt.
“Mike Lindell’s nonsensical parade only harms public confidence in elections. This isn’t just a problem in Georgia but nationwide. He knows he’s lying—but he’s fallen so deep into the grift that he may actually believe his own lies,” the spokesperson told Newsweek.
“Flooding our offices with bizarre chain letters will not change the outcome of 2020—but it will change the outcome for Republicans by staying home in 2022 due to these off-base antics,” he said.
While Georgia and several other key swing states have been the focal point of Lindell’s and Trump’s conspiracy theory about the 2020 election, they have alleged widespread voter fraud and election rigging across the country. Lindell has even targeted states that Trump won, with numerous Republican officials rejecting his false claims and urging him to stop.
More than 60 election challenge lawsuits filed by Trump and his allies failed in state and federal courts. Even judges appointed by the former president and other Republicans have dismissed the legal challenges. Audits and recounts across the country, just like in Georgia, have repeatedly confirmed Biden’s victory.
Former Attorney General William Barr, who was widely seen as one of Trump’s most loyal Cabinet members, has said repeatedly that there was “no evidence” to back claims of widespread fraud. That assessment came after Barr initially drew backlash from Democrats and other Trump critics for having the Justice Department probe the often bizarre allegations.
“The fact is, we have looked at the major claims your people are making, and they are bullsh*t,” Barr told Trump directly, according to an excerpt from his memoir published by The Wall Street Journal in early March.
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s press office and Georgia’s Secretary of State for comment.
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