For The Record

Governor says courts, not Legislature are last gasp for Trump’s campaign

By: - December 7, 2020 12:05 am

Gov. Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan announced Sunday they will not call a special session of the Georgia General Assembly to overturn the results of Georgia’s Nov. 3 election despite a personal appeal by President Donald Trump. Georgia’s top elected officials and constitutional lawyers say the maneuver isn’t legal. Ross Williams/Georgia Recorder

This post was updated at 8:45 a.m. Monday. 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan – both Republicans – have rejected a small group of state senators’ call for a special session to subvert the state’s presidential election.

The pair issued a joint statement late Sunday that said four senators had requested the special session with the purpose of selecting a separate slate of presidential electors. Trump narrowly lost the election in Georgia to President-elect Joe Biden, although he continues to contest the results in court.

The release did not name the lawmakers, but a handful of senators said they supported a special session during a daylong hearing held Thursday.

President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, visited the state Capitol to make the case for legislative intervention. Trump announced Sunday that Giuliani tested positive COVID-19 just days after his visit.

Here’s the rest of the statement:

“State law is clear: the legislature could only direct an alternative method for choosing presidential electors if the election was not able to be held on the date set by federal law.

“In the 1960s, the General Assembly decided that Georgia’s presidential electors will be determined by the winner of the state’s popular vote. Any attempt by the legislature to retroactively change that process for the November 3rd election would be unconstitutional and immediately enjoined by the courts, resulting in a long legal dispute and no short-term resolution.

“The judicial system remains the only viable – and quickest – option in disputing the results of the November 3rd election in Georgia.”

Georgia’s Attorney General, Chris Carr, who is also a Republican, said Monday morning that he supports the decision not to call a special session.

“The election of presidential electors has already taken place in the manner directed by Georgia’s legislature at the time set by Congress. There is no applicable legal avenue for replacing the choice of electors after the election,” Carr said in a tweet

Duncan has been increasingly outspoken about the need for Republicans to accept the results and turn their attention to the Jan. 5 runoffs for two U.S. Senate races.

“As the lieutenant governor and as a Georgian, I’m proud that we’re able to look up after three recounts and watch and be able to see that this election was fair. Was it perfect? Absolutely not. I don’t know that any election was perfect in the history of this country, but certainly, it’s only been nominal changes,” Duncan told CNN Sunday.

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Jill Nolin
Jill Nolin

Jill Nolin has spent nearly 15 years reporting on state and local government in four states, focusing on policy and political stories and tracking public spending. She has spent the last five years chasing stories in the halls of Georgia’s Gold Dome, earning recognition for her work showing the impact of rising opioid addiction on the state’s rural communities. She is a graduate of Troy University.