A private phone call on Nov. 10 revealed that President Donald J. Trump has become a "political burden" among the Republican Party as Georgia's GOP faces an uphill battle to the finish for the Jan. 5 runoffs. The call, which included donors, was hosted by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and featured Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Veteran strategist Karl Rove, who is assisting with fundraising efforts, was also on the call.
The comments by the senators and Rove were shared with The Washington Post "by a person who provided a detailed and precise account of what was said by each speaker on the call. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to divulge the contents of the private discussion," The Washington Post reported.
“What we’re going to have to do is make sure we get all the votes out from the general and get them back out,” Perdue said of core Republican voters. “That’s always a hard thing to do in a presidential year, particularly this year, given that President Trump, it looks like now, may not be able to hold out.”
Perdue added that, “We don’t know that” yet — and said he fully supports Trump and his dispute of the results in several states. But, he said, “we’re assuming that we’re going to be standing out here alone. And that means that we have to get the vote out, no matter what the outcome of that adjudication is on the recount in two states and some lawsuits, and others. Kelly and I can’t wait for that.”
According to the account, Perdue referred to the first round of voting as confronting the "anti-Trump vote in Georgia” and said the runoff would be about getting “enough conservative Republicans out to vote” in the Atlanta suburbs and elsewhere who might have opposed the president’s reelection.
“I’m talking about people that may have voted for Biden, but now may come back and vote for us because there was an anti-Trump vote in Georgia,” Perdue said. “And we think some of those people, particularly in the suburbs, may come back to us. And I’m hopeful of that.”
Sen. Todd C. Young (R-IN) said that he's "assuming the worst, but hoping for the best."
"And the worst-case scenario is that we have a Democrat in the White House, that we have Nancy Pelosi still with her hands on that speaker’s gavel, which appears almost a certainty,” Young said.
Perdue is running against Democrat Jon Ossoff, a first-timer. The candidate challenging Loeffler in the runoff is Rev. Raphael Warnock. Warnock is a pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. once preached.
“They changed, dramatically, the face of the electorate in Georgia. Many of these new voters are from California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and they’re not of the conservative persuasion,” Perdue said on the call. “This is really not about messaging. It’s not about persuasion in my race. It’s more about getting the vote out. We have to remind people of what the Democrats will do. It has nothing to do with Kelly or me.”
Loeffler said, “We think that Trump voters are going to continue to be very energized, and we don’t think we’ll have a problem with that. But the question is about the Democrat turnout. We don’t know. We can’t take for granted that we’re going to keep everyone motivated.”
Rove reportedly said on the call, “Don’t kid ourselves. We got a lot of work to do. And even at the end, though, we’re going to be outspent. The question is: Are we going to have sufficient money? Not: Are we going to have more money?”
He also spoke about Stacey Abrams' impact while on the call.
“We’re going to have a big issue with mail-in ballots that Stacey Abrams has been working for years. Her apparatus is already geared up,” Rove said.
The Washington Post reported that Perdue and Loeffler are running as a ticket, having fully integrated their teams and sharing fundraising efforts. That new joint committee, called the Georgia Battleground Fund, was encouraged by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).