Sec. of State says senators should concentrate on their races instead of calling for his resignation

ATLANTA — Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says he has no intention to resign after Georgia’s two U.S. senators issued a joint statement demanding that he step down.

Just two hours after the Secretary of State’s office held a news conference to debunk conspiracy theories and allegations surrounding this election, Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler called for Raffensperger’s resignation.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Election 2020]

“The management of Georgia elections has become an embarrassment for our state. The Secretary of State has failed to deliver honest and transparent elections. He has failed the people of Georgia and should step down immediately,” the statement said, in part.

A short time later, Raffensperger hit back.

TRENDING STORIES:

“Let me start by saying that is not going to happen. The voters of Georgia hired me, and the voters will be the ones to fire me. As Secretary of State, I’ll continue to fight every day to ensure fair elections in Georgia, that every legal vote counts and that illegal ones don’t count,” the statement said, in part.

Just a few hours earlier, former Georgia governor and current U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue addressed the House Republican caucus and laid out the Trump campaign’s legal strategy for the Georgia election.

[How do provisional ballots work? Here’s what you need to know]

It will revolve around four points they’ll bring up before the recounts starts. They’re concerned about the possibilities of double voting, non-Georgia residents voting and possible voting by felons and the deceased.

Those investigators say there’s no evidence of mass voting irregularities.

Perdue and the Trump campaign believe Biden’s margin is so small that this strategy could work.

[RELATED: Joe Biden continues to pick up votes in Georgia after clinching presidency]

“We work to ensure a 10,000-vote deficit; if we discover these things, it’s not without possibility a 10,000-vote deficit can be easily erased,” Perdue said.

No Georgia Secretary of State has been under this kind of pressure since the three governors crisis of 1946, when three different men claimed to be the governor and Ben Fortson had to hide the official state seal in his wheelchair so none of them could do any official business until the court sorted it all out.

Here is the full statement from Sens. Perdue and Loeffler:

“The management of Georgia elections has become an embarrassment for our state. Georgians are outraged, and rightly so. We have been clear from the beginning: every legal vote cast should be counted. Any illegal vote must not. And there must be transparency and uniformity in the counting process. This isn’t hard. This isn’t partisan. This is American. We believe when there are failures, they need to be called out -- even when it’s in your own party. There have been too many failures in Georgia elections this year and the most recent election has shined a national light on the problems. While blame certainly lies elsewhere as well, the buck ultimately stops with the Secretary of State. The mismanagement and lack of transparency from the Secretary of State is unacceptable. Honest elections are paramount to the foundation of our democracy. The Secretary of State has failed to deliver honest and transparent elections. He has failed the people of Georgia, and he should step down immediately.”

Here is the full statement from Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger:

"Earlier today Senators Loeffler and Perdue called for my resignation.

"Let me start by saying that is not going to happen. The voters of Georgia hired me, and the voters will be the one to fire me. As Secretary of State, I’ll continue to fight every day to ensure fair elections in Georgia, that every legal vote counts, and that illegal votes don’t count.

"I know emotions are running high. Politics are involved in everything right now. If I was Senator Perdue, I’d be irritated I was in a runoff. And both Senators and I are all unhappy with the potential outcome for our President.

"But I am the duly elected Secretary of State. One of my duties involves helping to run elections for all Georgia voters. I have taken that oath, and I will execute that duty and follow Georgia law.

"Here are the facts.

"The election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 in Georgia, from an election administration perspective was a resounding success. The average wait time to vote was 3 minutes. Almost 5 million Georgians cast a vote in this election…that is a record turnout. Nearly 75% of Georgia voters voted in person, while 25% to vote no-excuse absentee. That no-excuse absentee law was adopted by a Republican legislature, supported by Speaker David Ralston, and signed into law by then-Governor Sonny Perdue.

"President Trump received more votes than any other Republican presidential candidate in Georgia history, and Senator Perdue received more votes than the President.

"The process of reporting results has been orderly and followed the law. Where there have been specific allegations of illegal voting, my office has dispatched investigators. We have put a monitor in at Fulton County…one of our longtime problem Democrat-run counties.

"The investigation of potential double voters was the first of its kind done in the history of the Secretary of State’s office, and we will investigate any of those instances from the general election as well.

"I care about counting each and every legal vote…and assuring that illegal votes aren’t counted.

"And as far as lack of transparency…we were literally putting releases of results up at a minimum hourly. I and my office have been holding daily or twice-daily briefings for the press to walk them through all the numbers. So that particular charge is laughable.

"Was there illegal voting? I am sure there was. And my office is investigating all of it. Does it rise to the numbers or margin necessary to change the outcome to where President Trump is given Georgia’s electoral votes? That is unlikely.

"One thing I have learned in my time as Secretary of State is that a lot of difficulties in administering elections are caused by federal law. Federal law, not state law, is what makes it so difficult to keep clean voter rolls. Federal law, not state law, is what allows people to register to vote before a runoff even if they weren’t registered for the general election. Now that Senators Perdue and Loeffler are concerned about elections, hopefully they can fix these federal laws.

“My job is to follow Georgia law and see to it that all legal votes, and no illegal votes, are counted properly and accurately. As Secretary of State, that is my duty, and I will continue to do my duty. As a Republican, I am concerned about Republicans keeping the U.S. Senate. I recommend that Senators Loeffler and Perdue start focusing on that.”