Georgia GOP Rep. Jody Hice Defends Challenging Raffensperger, Says He 'Compromised' Election Integrity

Georgia GOP Representative Jody Hice defended his primary challenge against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, saying his fellow Republican "compromised" the state's election integrity. Raffensperger became the target of repeated insults from former President Donald Trump after he and other state-level Republicans refused to "find" more ballots that would hand Trump the state.

Hice, speaking Sunday with Fox News at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, mocked Democrats for "screaming about voter suppression" and said he's not concerned about GOP infighting with Raffensperger. He echoed Trump's unproven claims that Georgia's 2020 was "stolen" through widespread voter fraud, saying Sunday that the only reason he is running against Raffensperger is to re-establish "election integrity."

Hice told Fox News he's not concerned that intra-party fighting in the primary could lose Republicans the secretary of state seat in the upcoming election. Instead, the GOP congressman said he is obliged to run because Raffensperger hurt Georgia voters' confidence.

"To me this is not about infighting with another Republican member. This is about election integrity period," Hice said at CPAC.

The Washington Post reported in January that Trump desperately pleaded with Raffensperger to "find" more than 11,000 ballots in his favor, which would swing the state for him. In a January phone call, Trump reportedly threatened Raffensperger after he refused to help overturn the election results and dismissed the president's false claim that "we won the state."

Raffensperger reportedly told Trump "the data you have is wrong." Afterwards, the president blasted Raffensperger, characterizing him as clueless and weak.

Trump has kept up his attacks against any and all Republicans he views as having helped "steal" the election from him. In a statement released by Trump's Save America PAC Saturday, the former president complained, "the feeling of a Fake Election is stronger now than ever before. Check out the recent story of 35,000 votes in the great State of Georgia, and watch what is happening in Arizona, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and other States."

Hice acknowledged Sunday that the ongoing and unproven claims of widespread voter fraud may hurt Republicans as many people in the party's base become increasingly discouraged about voting altogether. But Hice said that he has the ability to build back confidence among GOP voters and bring them to the polls in order to oust Raffensperger.

"Absolutely. If people believe their votes don't count, they won't vote," Hice told Fox News. "And that's precisely why I'm running. We've got to restore both the integrity and the confidence of the voters."

Newsweek reached out to Raffensperger and Hice's respective offices for any additional remarks about their upcoming primary contest.

jody hice georgia brad raffensperger
U.S. Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) speaks before lawmakers Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) come out to speak at an America First Rally on May 27 in Dalton, Georgia. MEGAN VARNER / Stringer/Getty Images