In the category of election campaigns starting earlier and earlier, Republican Lt. Gov. Burt Jones launched an attack ad Monday against GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
In the ad, Jones slams Raffensperger for being a no-show on the job and missing budget hearings and a recent state Senate committee hearing on election integrity.
Jones, who presides over the Georgia Senate, and Raffensperger, the state’s chief elections officer, appear to be on a collision course ahead of the 2026 elections even before the 2024 voting. With Republican Gov. Brian Kemp term limited, the 2026 GOP gubernatorial primary field could get crowded, with state Attorney General Chris Carr another possible contender.
Jones’ ad starts by depicting a milk carton carrying Raffensperger’s photo, with the female narrator stating he is missing. She goes on to claim the secretary hasn’t attended a Senate Appropriations Committee meeting since 2020 despite the panel exercising control over his agency’s budget.
The ad also brings up Raffensperger’s failure to appear at a Senate Ethics Commission hearing on election integrity two weeks ago because he had a speaking engagement elsewhere. Raffensperger sent the agency’s general counsel instead to the meeting, where some Senate Republicans complained the secretary of state’s office was taking too long to implement an upgrade to the state’s touch-screen voting machines.
The ad continues by charging Raffensperger with working only 42 days this year and missing 70% of work days since 2021.
“If you or I did that, we’d be fired from our job,” the narrator states.
A key member of Raffensperger’s staff responded to the ad by saying her boss is focused on next year’s elections.
“While desperate politicians and election deniers work to discredit the outcome of next year’s election, we will continue to focus on preparing our counties for a smooth, secure and successful election,” Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs told The Hill, a Washington, D.C.-based newspaper that covers Capitol Hill.
Raffensperger and Jones are in opposite camps in Georgia’s Republican Party. Raffensperger famously refused to go along when then-President Donald Trump urged him to “find” 11,780 Georgia votes for Trump in the November, 2020, election, one more than Democrat Joe Biden had won in carrying the Peach State over Trump.
Jones was the only statewide Republican candidate endorsed by Trump in Georgia last year to win his election. Shortly after the 2020 election, then-state Sen. Jones was among a group of state Senate Republicans who called for a special session of the General Assembly amid allegations of widespread voter fraud in Georgia that turned out to be unfounded.
Dave Williams writes for Capitol Beat News Service