Republicans in Georgia are adrift after a bruising 2020 campaign season. In November, Donald Trump became the first Republican to lose the state since 1992. Then in the January runoffs, both incumbent Republican senators were beaten by Democratic challengers, flipping control of the U.S. Senate.
"A showdown is brewing over leadership of the Georgia Republican party after the GOP suffered crushing defeats in the November elections and January Senate runoffs to ascendant state Democrats," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Saturday.
"Georgia GOP chair David Shafer is trying to maintain control of a party apparatus he won in 2019 with a pledge to beef up a 'neglected' grassroots in dozens of counties that have no local GOP organizations," the newspaper reported. "Cobb County GOP chair Jason Shepherd on Saturday announced a challenge to Shafer at a grassroots breakfast where he was introduced by former GOP chair Sue Everhart. And other activists could mount a bid for the job before the June vote, including Scott Johnson, a former Cobb GOP chair and state Board of Education member who was runner-up to Shafer in 2019."
Trump's voter fraud conspiracy theories hang over the race.
"Shafer endorsed Trump's false claims of a 'rigged' election and promoted the sham narrative of widespread voting fraud, even engineering a vote of a phony slate of GOP electors on the same day Democrats formally voted to approve the state's 16 electoral votes for President Joe Biden," the newspaper reported. "And Shepherd joined Shafer as a plaintiff in the error-riddled lawsuit filed by former Trump attorney Sidney Powell that sought to nullify Georgia's election results."
One other dynamic looming large is the expected 2022 gubernatorial bid by Democrat Stacey Abrams, whose grassroots organizing was widely credited as being a key to Democrats' success in 2020.
"Shepherd, a college professor and attorney, invoked the likelihood of Stacey Abrams' expected run for governor in his campaign announcement," the newspaper reported.